Surrey mayor apologizes to RCMP after murder accusation on party's Twitter page

Surrey mayor Doug McCallum has apologized to the RCMP after a post on his political party's Twitter account accused Prince George Mounties of murdering a man.

Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, commanding officer of the RCMP's B.C. division, sent an email to officers provincewide on Monday confirming the apology. "What I do not appreciate is anyone who seeks to gain from making hateful, inappropriate and slanderous comments about our membership, which I know touches each of us, whether or not we are directly involved," she wrote.

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Mayor McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition were elected in October 2018 on a platform of replacing the Surrey RCMP with a municipal police force. The plan was approved by B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in February and the city force is expected to be operating by 2022.

On Friday, the party's Twitter page, which opened in 2018 and has 225 followers, retweeted a news story based on the Independent Investigations Office call for charges to be laid against five Prince George RCMP officers. No charges have been laid.

Mayor McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition were elected in October 2018 on a platform of replacing the Surrey RCMP with a municipal police force. The plan was approved by B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in February and the city force is expected to be operating by 2022.

On Friday, the party's Twitter page, which opened in 2018 and has 225 followers, retweeted a news story based on the Independent Investigations Office call for charges to be laid against five Prince George RCMP officers. No charges have been laid.

"He apologized for the post and assured me that this will not happen again," Edwards wrote.

Strachan also contacted McCallum, saying the post was "unprofessional, divisive and defamatory."

She wrote to McCallum that she appreciated the apology made to Edwards, adding "I trust that we are both of the understanding that defamatory comments by the Safe Surrey Coalition are counter productive to a positive working relationship."

The posting also drew fire from Prince George city council member Brian Skakun, calling the posting irresponsible.

"As far as the Surrey Safe Coalition goes, clean up your own backyard before you go after any other community that is facing its own crime-related challenges," Skakun continued in a posting on Facebook.

Dale Culver died after being arrested by five police officers in downtown Prince George in July 2017 after he attempted to flee on a bike. The IIO believed there are reasonable grounds that two officers committed use-of-force offences and three others may have committed offences regarding obstruction of justice.

- with files from Mark Nielsen, Prince George Citizen

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