A Vancouver man says he and his girlfriend were stopped at a stoplight and searched by RCMP officers after he and two other people, including a pregnant woman, were stopped and detained at a pipeline construction site in a downtown Vancouver neighbourhood.
David K. said he and the two other protesters were protesting a new pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries in Texas.
They were stopped when they walked through a red light, he said.
K. was wearing a shirt that said “Trans-Canada.”
He was stopped because he was carrying a large banner that said, “No More Tar Sands.”
K. says the RCMP officers took away his backpack and his iPhone and called police.
He said they told him they would take it back to their offices, where they said they would look into it.
K.’s girlfriend, Emily, was also stopped.
She says police told her to take her phone away and then escorted her back to her car.
Emily said the police also took her iPhone and said it would be turned over to the Crown.
Emily says she has been arrested several times, but never taken away from her car or asked to prove she was in Canada.
K., who was also wearing a t-shirt that said Trans-Canadian, was stopped by RCMP at the intersection of West 8th Avenue and Seymour Street in the downtown core Wednesday afternoon.
He says he’s been a vocal critic of the project and has been charged with breaching the law and obstructing justice.
K, who has not yet filed a lawsuit, says he was denied access to an attorney, and that he’s still waiting for a letter from the federal government to allow him to file a complaint against the RCMP.
“I’m going to be doing everything I can to make sure I’m treated fairly,” he said in a phone interview.
“If they can’t do that, they can at least make a reasonable request for me to do something.”
The RCMP said it has investigated K. and his six other people on multiple occasions.
It said it received a number of complaints from people who said they were stopped because they were carrying the same banner.
“We cannot and will not stand for this type of behaviour,” said Sgt. Rob Wouters, a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
He added that it’s against RCMP policy to ask people to leave a police station.