Saskatchewan RCMP lay charges in La Loche riot
Three men in La Loche, Sask., have been charged days after a mob attacked emergency personnel, set a police truck ablaze and smashed a hospital's windows.RCMP said Deano LaPrise, 22, Fabian LaPrise, 27, and Randall LaPrise, 25, are facing a number of charges, including assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, arson and participating in a riot.
The attack happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 30, in La Loche , a town of 2,300 people, 650 kilometres north of Saskatoon.
RCMP said two of their officers were called to a fire when they saw two men driving all-terrain vehicles. When they tried to stop the vehicles, one of them crashed and its driver, a 29-year-old man, passed out.
Police said it appears a crowd of people, who arrived from two nearby house parties blamed the Mounties for the crash. They allegedly threw cans and bottles and yelled threats at the officers and paramedics who had arrived to attend to the injured man.
The crowd then allegedly tried to storm the hospital. RCMP said they had to barricade the door and use pepper spray to keep the 50 to 70 people outside until backup officers arrived and helped disperse the crowd.
An RCMP truck was set on fire and the ambulance was severely damaged.
In a news release the Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority called its workers courageous.
It also said the violence was "mindless and shameful."
Police should accept some of the responsibility: Councillor
A La Loche councillor said the incident is another sad example of the community's poor relationship with the RCMP.
In an interview with CBC News, Holly Toulejour said there is no excuse for violence and those responsible should face charges. But Toulejour said police are viewed as outsiders in her town.
"We've tried to encourage the RCMP to be more community-minded", she said. "You only see them in uniform, and then when they are not on duty, like they are out of town spending their holiday somewhere else, not here with people," she said.
Toulejour said police are doing a poor job of reaching out to people, and there is a lack of trust.
"You know the police if you're in trouble, and I don't think that's very good," she said.
Toulejour also doubts the RCMP description of the size of the crowd outside the hospital. "I know people who were there, who witnessed the whole event," she said. "And they told me it wasn't 50 to 70 people. It was about 10 to 15 people."
Still, Toulejour said it was a scary event for those involved, and many people are still in shock.
"I'm sure the hospital staff that were there when this was going on are still traumatized" she said. "I can't even imagine what they went through"
Police say the investigation into the attack continues. The three men facing charges appeared in court on Monday.