Former member of Calgary police hate crimes unit compares vaccine policy to Holocaust
Warning: This story contains details some readers may find distressing
A former member of the Calgary police's hate crimes unit posted a now-viral video where he compares the city's vaccination policy to the Holocaust.
The officer is currently suspended with pay, Calgary police say.
In a 10-minute video, a uniformed Const. Brian Denison compares vaccination status to the genocide that killed millions of people.
"Those that are vaccinated, a lot of them look down on us that are unvaccinated and that's starting the two-tier system," Denison said.
He says that's reminiscent of "the World War that Hitler was perpetrating against the Jews."
"He slowly but surely took away the rights, the privileges, all the stuff that people find worthwhile in life, he stripped it away from them, and then he was able to demonize them."
In the video, recorded in September, Denison says he's been an officer for 24 years.
WATCH | Calgary police Const. Brian Denison compares the city's vaccination policy to the Holocaust in the video that led to his suspension, below:
'Toxic and conspiratorial agenda'
In a statement earlier this year, B'nai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights organization, said they were disgusted and concerned by a number of recent incidents in which the memory of the Holocaust has been tarnished by COVID-19 protestors, particularly in Calgary.
"The abuse of the memory of the Holocaust to serve a toxic and conspiratorial agenda must stop," said Michael Mostyn in the statement, chief executive officer of B'nai Brith Canada.
"There is room for a healthy debate in Canadian society on how to tackle COVID-19, but the cheap use of Holocaust imagery is horrifying and beyond the pale."
Across Canada, some protesters have called public health orders genocide, worn yellow stars which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe and even attended protests displaying images of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp and whose diaries were posthumously published and read around the world.
In an emailed statement, Calgary police said they are aware of the video. They said Denison is relieved from duty with pay for failing to adhere to the organization's COVID-19 vaccination policy.
They say the professional standards section is investigating, and CPS is pursuing relief from duty without pay under the provisions of Alberta's Police Act.
"We acknowledge and share in the Jewish community's disappointment in relation to remarks made in the video," the statement said.
"We respect our employees' decision on whether to get vaccinated. We value inclusivity and collaboration in our workplace and in doing so, we offer the rapid testing program for our employees who are unvaccinated, for a variety of reasons."