Holiday meal halted by mistaken gunpoint raid
Published Monday, October 11, 2010 7:22PM PDT
A family ordered out of their home at gunpoint during Thanksgiving dinner in a case of mistaken identity says they are anything but grateful to the B.C. Mounties this holiday.
Caerau McNabb said she and her mom were setting the table for an early Thanksgiving dinner in Port Coquitlam on Saturday when RCMP swarmed their home, hiding in the bushes and shouting at them to come outside. Their turkey was still in the oven.
"They had guns pointed at us. We were told to turn around and walk backwards up the street," she said.
McNabb said police ordered herself and her mother, stepdad and stepbrother to drop to their knees, lie on their stomachs palms up and spread their legs.
Her 60-year-old mother was forced facedown in her pajamas on the rain-soaked pavement -- in front of shocked neighbours.
"When she finally got down she burst into tears, half in pain, half out of embarrassment," she said.
"I tried to comfort my mother at which point I was told I had a gun pointed at my head and to shut up and stop speaking."
RCMP say they were responding to a tip a woman was being held in the basement suite of the home, something later found to be false. McNabb questions the police tactics used during its investigation.
"I'm not sure what the purpose of leaving us lying in water soaking wet while everybody watches on for 30 minutes would serve their purpose of subduing us," she said.
McNabb said she and her relatives were put in a squad car for a time before being told the incident was a misunderstanding.
"They came back to the cars and said ‘oh, it's all been a mistake, come back to the house and we'll explain it to you,'" she said.
Cpl. Bert Paquet told CTV News the force has launched its own investigation into the matter.
Paquet said the RCMP responded accordingly to what was perceived as a "very serious and emergency call."
"It might have been a misunderstanding from the complainant but at that time we didn't know that so we had to ensure because the allegations had a gun involved we took all precautions to ensure public safety as well as the safety of the family."
McNabb wants to file a complaint or, at the very least, receive an apology.
"You turn on the news every night and you hear about their mistakes. Obviously what they consider reasonable force needs to be re evaluated."
She says her Thanksgiving isn't the same.
"I think we're all traumatized," she said.
RCMP has provided victim services to the family.
"We understand it was traumatizing," Paquet said. "We'll be in touch with the family as we follow up our investigation."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan