New details about arrest of 3 Coquitlam residents
Published Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:24PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 6, 2019 7:26PM PDT
Details are emerging about a Coquitlam man accused of obstructing B.C. conservation officers. He and two of his neighbours are facing criminal charges after a bear and her cubs were euthanized near their homes.
"He was being dragged by the shirt like that and he was walking with them and he wasn't trying to get away or anything,” said Tony Faccin, one of the arrested residents.
Faccin was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser when he saw one of his neighbours be arrested.
"I felt helpless and of course I felt a little sick to my stomach watching them treat an elderly person like that,” said Faccin.
The 68-year-old in question has asked CTV News to protect his identity.
"I noticed at one point they were really pulling on his shirt and he just went like this, like "What are you doing?" and they just grabbed him and ripped him back even harder,” said Faccin.
The trio of neighbours are now getting help from a former conservation officer who quit the service because of bears being killed. He's trying help them set up a legal defence fund.
"Dragging a senior citizen from his home when the true reason you were there was to chase some bears around is a very dangerous and slippery slope,” said Bryce Casavant, a former BC Conservation Officer.
The neighbours had their phones and the video they took seized. It’s now in the custody of the BC Conservation Officer Service. Faccin’s wife was able to get some footage where gunshots can be heard and video of her husband’s arrest.
"This isn't a bear hunt. This is a witch hunt and it's not appropriate. These individuals have done nothing more reportedly than film and shout out of concern for baby bear cubs,” said Casavant.
Coquitlam’s mayor is now weighing in on the issue as well.
"Everybody's working to the same goal,” said Richard Stewart.
He doesn’t want the arrests to discourage the reporting of wildlife encounters.
"Human food and human conditioning and the garbage habituation is the death sentence, it isn't the conservation officer service,” said Stewart.
The trio of neighbours are due in court in the fall. No word yet on when they’ll get their phones back.