FACT CHECK: Did The Ottawa Police Chief Say That ‘Every Single Canadian Who Supported Truckers Will Be Hunted Down And Ruined’?
A post shared on Facebook claims interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said that “Every single Canadian who supported truckers will be hunted down and ruined.”
There is no evidence Bell made this statement. A representative for the Ottawa Police Department denied the claim.
A large group of Canadian truckers arrived in Ottawa earlier this year where they staged a weeks-long demonstration against pandemic-related restrictions, according to CBC. A recent Facebook post claims that Bell expressed his intent to “hunt down and ruin” all Canadians who supported the demonstrations.
“Ottawa Police Chief: ‘Every Single Canadian Who Supported Truckers Will Be Hunted Down and Ruined,'” reads the Facebook post. “Chief, it sounds like you are in the wrong line of work. To hear a public servant (especially a Chief) speak like this, truly disgusts me.”
There is, however, no evidence that Bell made such a statement. No such quote appears on the Ottawa Police website. There are likewise no credible news reports that attribute such a quote to the police chief.
“The quote is false,” a representative for the Ottawa Police Department confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Ottawa Police Violently Restraining A Man?)
While there is no evidence Bell made the statement attributed to him in the post, he did make a similar comment during a press conference in February about the demonstration. “If you are involved in this protest, we will actively look to identify you and follow up with financial sanctions and criminal charges, absolutely,” said Bell. “This investigation will go on for months to come.”
The fabricated post appears to stem from a 2022 NewsPunch article. NewsPunch was formerly known as YourNewsWire until the website changed its domain name in an attempt to elude Facebook’s fact-checking system, according to Poynter.