A Peel Regional Police sergeant has been suspended and an internal investigation has been launched after the officer was seen interacting with members of the public outside a Mississauga gym now facing multiple charges for defying provincial lockdown rules.
The owner of Huf Gym has insisted on keeping the facility open despite stringent stay-at-home and non-essential business restrictions in place, leading to protests held outside the Mississauga location.
On Friday, multiple videos were shared on social media showing the Peel sergeant not wearing a mask and posing for pictures with protesters.
“Upon learning of the incident, I immediately directed that the Sergeant be suspended and commenced an Internal Affairs investigation,” said Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah in a statement.
“Peel Regional Police is committed to ensuring the safety of our members and the public. Our officers will enforce municipal and provincial regulations as required.”
Chief Duraiappah says the force supports all measures necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 both in our workplace and our community.
“All gatherings, rallies, protests, and peaceful assemblies must follow existing Provincial Regulations and City By-Laws,” Peel Police said as part of the statement.
“Tickets may be issued to individuals or organizers who do not comply with this order.”
Huf Gym operators will be charged with obstruction, as well as violations of the Reopening Ontario Act (non-essential business), violations of the Reopening Ontario Act (gathering), and violations of the Reopening Ontario Act (Order to Close).
Each charge may result in a fine of up to $500,000 and a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, the city says.
Under current COVID-19 restrictions issued by the Ford government, Peel Region remains under a stay-at-home order.