Ottawa Police officer Isabelle Cyr, testified on Wednesday – the nineteenth day of the Tamara Lich and Chris Barber trial – that some of her attempts to reduce the "footprint" of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa were "denied" by her superiors.
Both Barber and Lich are being charged with mischief, intimidation, obstruction of police and counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation, and obstruction of police in association with their roles as Freedom Convoy organizers.
Cyr, an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer, was invited to testify as a witness for the Crown. She worked with a Police Liaison Team (PLT) that she said had "daily" communication with Freedom Convoy organizers.
"I was denied," Cyr stated, by Inspector Russell Lucas, OPS's incident commander who oversaw local law enforcement's dealing with the Freedom Convoy, when she sought permission to arrange a lessening of the demonstration's "footprint" in Ottawa.
Lucas also testified as a Crown witness earlier in the trial. He stated that his discretion to negotiate with the Freedom Convoy's organizer was essentially removed when he received a directive that "not one inch" should be conceded to the demonstrators.
Lucas specifically said that his ability to reduce the Freedom Convoy's "footprint" in Ottawa, and therefore lessen the negative impacts of the protest on Ottawa residents, was suffocated by his superiors. When asked where the "not one inch" directive originated or who initially issued it, Lucas noted that he did not know from how high up the chain of command the order was issued.
Lawrence Greenspon, Lich's lead defence attorney, read a message posted a PLT officer remarking on the suppression of PLT's discretion to negotiate with the Freedom Convoy's organizers in the group's encrypted Signal chat:
"The lack of authority for PLT to make decisions in this protest has resulted in this catastrophic failure. it resulted in the empowerment of protesters at Rideau and Sussex while showing them how important this [area] was by how many times we came back to the table asking for it."
Greenspon told Rebel News that Cyr's testimony demonstrated that PLT officers, working in good faith to reduce the negative impacts of the Freedom Convoy on residents, were "stymied" by higher-ups in the government's chain of command in pursuit of their objective.