Coutts defendant told RCMP 'you guys would be shooting first' during COVID protest

Video of a 2022 discussion between Anthony Olienick, one of the two remaining 'Coutts 4' defendants, and the RCMP shows Olienick telling the authorities any words of violence were merely contingency planning in case police attacked protesters.

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“You guys would be shooting first,” Anthony Olienick said in an interview with the RCMP shortly after his arrest on February 14, 2022, in a video played for the jury in his and Chris Carbert’s trial during Wednesday’s proceedings in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Olienick and Carbert are charged with conspiracy to murder, with the Crown alleging the two men conspired to murder police officers during their time at the Coutts demonstration, which was peaceful and civilly disobedient protest against governmental decrees, edicts, and mandates issued as “public health” measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

The two men are also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon with a purpose dangerous to the public peace, and mischief causing damage over $5,000. Olienick is additionally charged with unlawful possession of an explosive device for a purpose dangerous to the public peace. The two defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

Jurors completed watching a video of Andy Olford, an RCMP officer, interviewing Olienick on the date of his arrest on Thursday. The Crown began playing the video as evidence on Monday, with jurors out of the courtroom on Tuesday as the prosecutors and defence lawyers sought to resolve other disputes.

Throughout the interview, Olienick repeated he had no intentions of initiating any violence with law enforcement.

He described himself as “a sheepdog” who would defend protesters in the event of police officers using violence against demonstrators, referencing instances of authoritarian suppression of peaceful assembly in historical and current states like Nazi Germany and China.

Olienick told Olford he would not use violence against police “unless you guys are shooting.”

“Why would I start that?” Olienick asked the interviewing RCMP officer rhetorically. He added “I’m [not] going to be the one to start.”

Olienick said he was considering the use of violence against police officer “if they decided to open up first on the people”. He also stated that “the authorities would have to do something so extreme” to provoke a violent response from him.

“If I saw cops shooting little kids,” Olienick considered, he would respond with force.

Olienick emphasized, “Nobody was going to jump the gun and start anything. … We were there to be the silent sheepdogs.”

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