Cortney Pike is inside the doorway of her home, where she says two RCMP officers entered without warning around 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning. (Troy Turner / CBC)
The RCMP admitted on Friday that its explanation earlier this week of why two officers entered a Mount Moriah home without permission contained erroneous information.
Officers searching for a missing youth entered the house in western Newfoundland on Sunday morning and questioned an 11-year-old girl before her parents noticed, or even woke up. In a statement on Tuesday, the RCMP said: “After a sustained period of calls, ringing and verbal communication, police entered the residence through an unlocked door and verbally announced their presence.”
In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, the girl’s mother, Cortney Pike, dismissed this version of events, saying that the statement that officers rang her bell particularly surprised her.
“We don’t have a bell. This house has never had a bell. Never,” he said. “I just feel like they are trying to justify their reason for coming into my house,” he said.
Cortney Pike provided these photos of the doors of her home to CBC News. Neither door seems to have a doorbell. In a statement on Tuesday, the RCMP said officers rang the doorbell before entering. On Friday, police said the officers’ original report did not mention ringing the doorbell. (Submitted by Cortney Pike)
On Friday, police admitted that the reference to ringing a bell on Tuesday’s statement was incorrect.
An email from the RCMP to CBC News on Friday morning said that the statement earlier in the week “was created by our unit here in St. John’s in consultation with the Corner Brook Detachment. After your consultation on this response, we note that there was no mention of the doorbell in the report of the responding agents.The rest of the response, including a sustained period of door-to-door calls and verbal communication, is completely accurate. “.
Earlier this week, Pike told CBC News that he woke up around 5:30 a.m. NT on Sunday with the sounds of footsteps and voices inside his house in western Newfoundland: footsteps and voices that belonged to two RCMP officers who had entered his house through an unlocked door. .
Pike said officers woke his 11-year-old daughter and questioned her as a flashlight flashed across her face.
Pike said he would have heard if officers had been calling and making noise before entering, or if his dog had started barking.
“Obviously they had to sneak in very quietly,” he said.
The GRC statement said officers entered the home because they were looking for a missing 17-year-old. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which has jurisdiction over nearby Corner Brook, said the young man was later found safe.
“Very unusual”: CCLA
Abby Deshman, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s criminal justice program, said the incident is worrying.
“It seems very unusual for police to break into a house at night and talk directly to a minor without asking where their parents were,” he said.
Abby Deshman, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s criminal justice program, says the incident described by Pike is worrying. (CBC)
Deshman said police can enter a home without permission, but only in certain urgent or life-threatening situations, or if they have specific evidence.
“They can’t just go into someone’s house because there’s been a report of a missing person. They need more than that.”
Deshman said that in Newfoundland and Labrador, a judge can also grant permission to police to enter a home, but there is no indication that it has happened.
“It bothered me a lot”
Deshman said situations like the one described by Pike are not always reported.
“We certainly hear, however, from people in the communities, and in particular from marginalized and racialized communities, who feel that the police regularly violate their rights,” he said.
Pike said he has not heard from police since the incident, but has filed a formal complaint with the RCMP. He said he has also contacted a lawyer about the incident and is considering filing a lawsuit.
Pike said he felt the RCMP statement, which he first saw through media reports, was aimed at making her look like a liar. He said he wants a public apology.
“I had no reason to invent a story like this, you know what I mean? They came into my daughter’s room and it bothered me a lot.”
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