The mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, has announced his request for a review of a situation in which police officers were ordering people who were sheltering in a downtown LRT station to leave on a freezing night.
Iveson has described the video as “heartbreaking” and “frustrating to watch.” The mayor will send a formal inquiry on Wednesday and ask the staff to produce a report on the expectations of the police when dealing with homeless people.
The leader of the local chapter of an Indigenous community, Judith Gale, stated that she was giving food to the homeless in the Central Station LRT around 8 p.m. Then, police officers came and asked those people to leave the place.
The officers told them to put their masks on. Gale replied that they couldn’t wear masks while they are eating, but that didn’t stop the officers from telling the homeless to leave.
The police responded to this incident.
On Monday, Edmonton Police Service spokesperson said:
“The officers should have done a better job at communicating our role in helping connect citizens to the City of Edmonton’s services and partner agencies whose goals are to keep vulnerable citizens safe and warm.”
The mayor said that he believes that re-opening of LRT stations for overnight sheltering is not a good idea.
He also believes that a better solution is needed right now:
“But if people are going to be discharged from those spaces, my expectation would be that we have a referral mechanism in place” to direct people in need to social-service agencies.”