Police operating in good faith during standoff
The OPP maintained a roadblock on Muskoka Road 38 for nearly 12 hours after protesters had left the Wahta Cultural Centre. (Doug Crosse Photo)
The OPP says it was negotiating in good faith when it found out protesters had left the Wahta Cultural Centre hours before.
The Grassroots People of Wahta had taken over the council chamber in the cultural centre yesterday morning but actually left around noon.
Meanwhile, the OPP, acting on information that the group was armed, responded with specialty units including the Tactical Response and the Emergency Response Units.
Sergeant Jason Folz, a media relations coordinator with the OPP says they had been in constant contact with Dave Stock throughout the day.
“They certainly were leading us to believe that they were occupying that place,” says Folz. “We’re operating and presenting in good faith when we do these things. We want a safe outcome. We don’t want to pressure people into surrendering, those kinds of things, we want a peaceful resolution.”
He says the negotiators thought they were still in the building until around midnight.
“In this instance, we are vulnerable to someone who wants to deceive us as far as being in there and having an agenda,” says Folz. “It happened. We don’t like that it happened.”
Folz says an investigation into exactly who was in the cultural centre is ongoing and charges could be laid.
Dozens of officers were deployed to set up an inner and outer perimeter as well as a full staging area at the Bala OPP detachment.