Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the official watchdog group for the province, said this weekend it is investigating an incident in which a mounted police officer trampled a woman on Friday during police action to break up the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa.
Contrary to statements from the Ottawa police, SIU confirmed the woman suffered a “serious injury” during her “interaction” with the horse.
Video of the mounted police riding through protesters and smashing a woman with a walker to the ground went viral on Friday evening, accompanied by incorrect rumors that the woman had been killed.
This is disturbing. Is the woman with the walker trampled by Mounted Unit horses alive? Is she in surgery? Has @SIUOntario been notified? Do you have any concerns or comment @OttawaPolice @JustinTrudeau @fordnation @JimWatsonOttawa – Why? pic.twitter.com/X251vZiIaq
— Joe Warmington (@joe_warmington) February 18, 2022
The Ottawa Police denounced reports of the woman’s death as “misinformation” and then claimed no one was injured at all during the encounter:
We hear your concern for people on the ground after the horses dispersed a crowd. Anyone who fell got up and walked away. We're unaware of any injuries. A bicycle was thrown at the horse further down the line and caused the horse to trip. The horse was uninjured. pic.twitter.com/tgfsl6uxT7
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 19, 2022
On Saturday, the Ottawa Police announced SIU was reviewing the case, and pledged to “fully cooperate” with the oversight process.
SIU issued a press release on Saturday in which it confirmed that a 49-year-old woman reported a “serious injury,” but stressed that rumors of her death were false.
SIU said it was also investigating a report of non-lethal weapons discharged by Vancouver police officers against protesters in Ottawa. At least 21 Vancouver officers were reportedly flown to the national capital to help with the protest situation.