Three members of a Bonnyville family who say they were roughed up unnecessarily and are victims of excessive force by several members of the local RCMP detachment, have distributed dozens of posters in the area to voice their concerns.
Lucina Pollock, 54, says "six or seven officers" burst into her son's home the evening of Feb. 28 looking for her son Roland, who was wanted by police on allegations of slapping his daughter and "being suicidal" according to Roland's estranged wife.
"They're going through a split up and she made wild accusations of him being suicidal a week before this happened," said Pollock. "My son does suffer from depression, but he's not suicidal and has never been in trouble with the law in his life."
A quiet night at home got crazy in a hurry when police showed up without warning, she said.
"We were just sitting at home getting ready to watch a movie and eat pizza that had just arrived, when all hell broke loose," said Pollock.
Police broke down the door to the home using a battering ram and insisted on finding and arresting her son, who had admittedly hid under a bed in an adjacent room, she said.
There was a lot of yelling and screaming and she accidentally tripped and grabbed an officer's waist, she said. The officer accused her of reaching for his gun and immediately put her in a choke hold, knocking her unconscious, she said.
"I don't remember a thing after that, except waking up in jail," she said. "I've never been in trouble with the law in my life and the officer said I reached for his gun, which is ridiculous.
"There was absolutely no need to react violently and grab me around the neck and choke me out."
Pollock, her son, and his son were all charged with criminal offences following the altercation, with Pollock charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Those charges are ludicrous, she said.
"I'm on a disability pension with severe physical injuries and I'm grabbed around the neck and choked unconscious, but they charged me with resisting arrest and assaulting police. It's a joke as far as I'm concerned," she said. "The police could have called all of us outside the house and tried to calm things down, but instead they busted down the door without any warning and started issuing threats and scaring us.
"That's no way to handle a situation like this. We went to the police to complain, but, of course, the police insist the situation was handled properly and none of their officers did anything wrong."
Members of her family decided to distribute the posters as a way to protest, she said.
Pollock said she was covered in bruises as a result of the incident and pictures of several of those bruises appear on the poster that was distributed last week in Bonnyville.
The posters are hanging outside several public buildings in the downtown core and six dozen were handed out to members of the public at a local grocery store on Saturday, March 5.
The poster says in large letters "Can we trust the RCMP?"
The poster goes on to say three family members were victims of excessive force by RCMP officers and needed hospital treatment as a result.
The poster reads further to "please send any public comments by email" to Pollock's daughter's email address.
"We don't use any officers' names and we don't accuse specific individuals with this poster," she said. "It's not a threatening poster. The idea was to get public awareness out there about what went on in that house that night because we don't believe this is the only time something like this has happened with the RCMP in this town.
"I was roughed up for nothing and I have bruises all over my body to prove it. This should have never happened."
RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Luis Gandolfi said because there are criminal charges involved, he's not able to comment on the specifics of this case.
All allegations of police misconduct made by members of the public "are taken very seriously" and there's a process in place to handle such complaints, he said.