A Peel Regional Police officer caught on video hugging protesters at a Mississauga gym has been suspended.
Sgt. Paul Brown was filmed outside Huf Gym in Mississauga, which opened last week despite Peel being under a stay-at-home order.
The veteran officer was seen at the facility, which has become a protest site for its owners and supporters, not wearing personal protective equipment while interacting with maskless protesters and posing for photos.
Huf gym, located near Cawthra Rd. and Dundas St. E., opened in defiance of current anti-COVID measures.
A Global News TV reporter covering the protest Friday morning was aggressively approached by a woman not wearing a mask. When the reporter spoke to Brown about the protester’s behaviour, the officer accused the journalist of agitating the group outside the gym.
The incident showed up on several social media posts, clearly showing the 12 Division uniformed patrol sergeant interacting with the public without PPE.
Peel Chief Nishan Duraiappah released a statement Friday afternoon stating the officer has been suspended.
“Upon learning of the incident, I immediately directed that the Sergeant be suspended and commenced an Internal Affairs investigation,” he said. “Peel Regional Police are committed to ensuring the safety of our members and the public. Our officers will enforce municipal and provincial regulations as required.”
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“As an organization, we continue to follow the advice issued from the federal, provincial, and local public health officials while using the appropriate safety precautions, including all available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” Duraiappah added.
“We support all measures necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 both in our workplace and our community,” he said.
Chris Giles, the manager of compliance and licensing for Mississauga, has said charges were expected to be laid against Huf gym under the Reopening Ontario Act.