RCMP unlawfully seized guns during Alberta floods: Report


RCMP unlawfully seized guns during Alberta floods: Report


Credits: FILE PHOTO/Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

OTTAWA – RCMP officers acted outside of the law when they conducted warrantless searches and seizures of firearms during the southern Alberta floods of 2013, according to an independent report.

The seizures angered many residents of High River, just south of Calgary.

The report, issued by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission on Thursday, found that RCMP members performed “warrantless searches and seizures of firearms from some of the evacuated homes.”

Mounties have claimed they don’t need warrants to seize firearms and that they only took guns that were unsecured or improperly stored and in plain view.

The report, led by commission chairman Ian McPhail, says that’s not the case.

“In a number of instances, RCMP members seized firearms that were properly secured or that were not in plain view. In these cases the firearms were not removed with lawful authority.”

The report also points out that while officers may have been justified in entering homes initially to search for survivors, subsequent visits to seize guns amounted to illegal, warrantless searches.


“In several cases the searches exceeded their authorized scope by expanding from a search for people or pets to a search for firearms or contraband,” McPhail states.

The commission interviewed residents who had moved their lawfully owned guns to higher levels of their homes to protect them from the flood waters, yet despite hiding the guns under sleeping bags and other items, they returned home to find that the police had taken the firearms.

“The judicial oversight component of seizures cannot be overstated in the context of police officers taking personal property from a home,” the report states.

“In accordance with the RCMP Act, we will provide our official response, once completed,” Paulson said.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the report shows concerns raised by the government at the time were justified.

“The activity in question is completely unacceptable. Law-abiding Canadians should never be faced with unlawful searches and seizure of their personal property,” said Jean-Christophe de la Rue.

Full article at source

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