“We are not being invaded.”
Those comforting words came from a Toronto police Twitter account after concerned citizens noticed armed soldiers being deployed at a Toronto park on Monday night.
It turns out the soldiers were engaged in military training exercises with rubber rifles at Coronation Park east of Ontario Place
The Canadian Armed Forces tells CityNews 20 soldiers were undergoing routine training, which takes place in public a few times a year. The military also says it informed Toronto police of the exercise in a letter.
PUBLICC SAFETY ALERT:
City of Toronto
-Military conducting drills all over city
-Soldiers have training rifles
-We are not being invaded
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) March 21, 2017
But many took police to task for their tweet, saying it could have been misconstrued, or even traumatizing, to some.
— Barb Crisp (@CrispComm) March 21, 2017
Others took a more humorous approach:
@TPSOperations Thought maybe it snowed in Toronto, for a minute there I thought Lastman picked up the phone again.
— Mr. Mark (@MMunson5440) March 21, 2017
— Ron Jones (@Penrhos88) March 21, 2017
— Paul J Elliott (@PaulJElliott) March 21, 2017
But whether serious or humorous, Toronto police admitted on Tuesday that they didn’t handle the situation appropriately.
“The flippant comment in the tweet is unacceptable,” police spokesman Mark Pugash said. “We apologize for any offence caused.
“(Police were) called numerous times by people who saw what appeared to be armed soldiers in the city … Some of those callers showed great concern. (The) tweet was in direct response to those callers and their concern. However, it should have been phrased more clearly.”