Saskatoon

Sask. RCMP member under investigation after post joking about machine-gunning protesters

The RCMP launched an internal code of conduct this week after being alerted about a post on the Facebook page of officer Jack Clay. Clay has been moved to desk duty pending the outcome of that probe.

This story contains language some may find offensive

The RCMP confirmed it launched an internal code of conduct investigation into the behaviour of Constable Jack Clay. A meme posted on Clay's Facebook page joked about machine-gunning protesters. (Jack Clay/Facebook)

A Saskatchewan RCMP member is on desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation after a post on his Facebook page included a joke about using machine gunners to suppress demonstrators.

The post appeared on the Facebook page of Community Constable Jack Clay, a Saskatchewan officer, earlier this week — just days after protesters near the territory of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga in Ontario set fires along Canadian National Railway tracks.

"I love you Canada," the post said. "I love you but right now I don't like you. I don't understand you. I don't understand the things that are happening with you right now.

"I don't know how some of the things are still being labelled as 'the right to peaceful assembly and protest' when to me they fit the elements of the offence of 'mischief' perfectly. And some of them even seem like they are awful close to domestic terrorism."

The written portion of the post. (Jack Clay/Facebook)

The written portion of the post concluded with a reference to Bob Ross, the late host of an instructional painting program on PBS.

"So I turn to the gentle wisdom of Bob Ross," the post said. "Maybe he knows how we should handle some of [the] things going on in you, Canada."

The post then showed a meme of Ross pointing his paintbrush on a canvas, framed by a caption that read: "....and I put a happy little machine gunner right f---ing here."

A Saskatchewan RCMP officer is under internal investigation after this meme (without the blurring) was posted on his Facebook page. (Jack Clay/Facebook)

'RCMP is held to a high standard' 

A spokesperson for the RCMP confirmed the force was made aware of the post on Clay's page Tuesday, at which point Clay became the focus of an RCMP internal code of conduct investigation.

Clay has been moved to desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

"As Canada's national police force, the RCMP is held to a high standard by the public we serve," the spokesperson said.

The RCMP says Clay will be on desk duty pending the outcome of the internal code of conduct investigation. (Submitted by RCMP)

Members' behaviour, both on and off-duty, must fall in line with the RCMP's code of conduct, the spokesperson added.

"The RCMP understands social media is an important part of how we communicate, in both our personal and professional lives," the spokesperson said. "[We take] matters concerning the misconduct of all categories of employees on social networking websites seriously.

"It is important to note that the comments made on social media do not in any way reflect the values of the RCMP."

It's not the first time in recent years that a Saskatchewan RCMP member has come under scrutiny for a social media post about a hot-button topic.

In February 2018 — after a jury found farmer Gerald Stanley not-guilty of murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie — an RCMP member came under investigation for writing on Facebook that Boushie "got what he deserved."

Clay's Facebook post appeared just days after Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair admonished the protesters for setting tires on fire around Ontario rail tracks as freight trains moved through.

"I think it's terribly unsafe and inappropriate," Blair said at the time, adding that he encouraged people to obey the law.

'Do your job!' 

Police forces came under pressure from counter-protesters to arrest demonstrators during the blockades of recent weeks. The blockades were mounted in support of a separate demonstration in B.C. against a pipeline construction project.

During a short-lived peaceful demonstration in Saskatoon two weeks ago, an irate counter-protester repeatedly ordered a Saskatoon police officer to arrest the demonstrators. "Do your job!" the man yelled only a few feet away from the officer.

FSIN looking into post 

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents Saskatchewan's First Nations, said Wednesday that it was aware of the post but was not yet prepared to comment.

"I hope you grow out of this phase soon, Canada," another line from the post said. "Maybe next election. Maybe that will help. But I certainly don't have the answers."

CBC News has reached out to Clay for comment.

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips and ideas welcomed at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca