On Saturday, just a few days after Pastor Artur Pawlowski was released after a 51-day incarceration on strict bail conditions, Calgary Police Services were once again selectively targeting Christian pastors with enforcement. This time it was Pastor Derek Reimer, who ran into troubles previously for feeding the homeless throughout COVID-19 restrictions and became one of our early FightTheFines.com recipients, facing arrest.
For the third week in a row an injunction acquired by the city of Calgary, at the behest of Mayor Jyoti Gondek, has been selectively enforced by Calgary Police Services against freedom protests which have been taking place peacefully for over two years in the city. Included in the injunction is limitations on amplification, park usage and honking. You can view the document in its entirety here.
Unsurprisingly, we witnessed groups and individuals playing loud music and busking with amplifiers without incident, but the freedom protests have been selectively targeted and limited in terms of where they can gather and where they can use microphones and speakers. We also saw the targeted ticketing of people honking in support of the protests. When one bystander asked an officer issuing a honking ticket why significant amounts of honking went un-ticketed at a pro-Ukraine rally, the officer said that other protests are not subject to the injunction.
While the officer's comments may not accurately reflect the content of the injunction, it does reveal the communicated and targeted enforcement against certain groups.
Pastor Derek Reimer was not attending the protest on Saturday when he was arrested, but he was running his weekly street ministry and feeding the homeless. Despite this, he was once again singled-out for enforcement. Last week he was approached and told he would be getting a ticket for using an amplifier to share his message, and this week he was arrested with officers citing enforcement of the injunction as the grounds for the arrest.
Calgary Police need to get their story straight, but I suspect that will be difficult when the facts seem to suggest that they are once again involved in politically-targeted enforcement rather than equal application of the law.
I arrived on location just after Derek being taken into custody and was able to obtain footage of his interaction with police last week, the arrest itself and an interview with one of the members of Derek’s Mission7 ministry who witnessed the incident. We will be speaking with Derek soon as he has since been released, for his personal account of what happened.
While Pastor Derek faces new legal battles, Pastor Artur Pawlowski sits at home under strict house arrest conditions with the legal fight of his life ahead of him. If you want to learn more about his story, or if you want to make a tax-receipt eligible donation to Artur’s legal fees you can do so at SaveArtur.com.