Former northern B.C. mayoral candidate arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in Smithers

Randy Bell. (File photo)

Former Smithers Town Council candidate Randy Bell was arrested, handcuffed and escorted out of the Bulkley Valley Credit Union on Friday afternoon for refusing to wear a mask inside, according to a video he posted on Facebook.

After being asked several times to put on a mask, and refusing to do so or to leave the credit union, RCMP were called.

In the video, posted on Bell’s Facebook page, you can hear RCMP asking repeatedly for Bell to put on his mask to continue his banking, at which time he continues to refuse.

He is then handcuffed and taken to the RCMP vehicle, where the officer and Bell can be heard having a lengthy discussion about the laws regarding the newly-announced mask mandate.

READ MORE: Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

After determining that Bell would not be going back inside the credit union, the officer encourages him to “go home and educate himself on the law.”

The officer can be heard saying on the video that he (RCMP) had six months to issue a ticket, although, “if this is the last we hear of it, we can move on, but if we have to revisit this conversation, then the ticket will still be an option.”

Bell was released from police custody at the scene, but could be heard saying to his wife to “keep the video as it’s probably going to happen again.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a mandatory mask mandate Thursday (Nov. 17) for all public indoor spaces.

The Smithers RCMP confirmed they were called to a local financial institution for a report of a client refusing to leave the premises after he also refused to wear a non-medical mask or face covering contrary to the Public Health Order issued by Dr. Henry.

”Front line officers arrived and engaged the patron in conversation in an effort to gain compliance and cooperation with the mask mandate. Despite the efforts of the police officers, the man was detained and escorted from the business. He was eventually released without charge and directed to review the current Public Health Orders in place,” said Cpl Jesse O’Donaghey with BC RCMP Media Communication Services.

O’Donaghey added the RCMP’s focus remains on educating and encouraging members of the public who may not be following the safety measures set out by public health authorities. Enforcement is typically seen as a last resort, but one that can be used if the circumstances warrant.

“As in this case, police officers can use discretion when enforcing various statutes, and RCMP officers have the ability to use a measured approach when dealing with COVID-19 related situations. Bylaw officers and police officers have the ability to issue fines under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act (RMA). Public health measures and fines are set by provincial and local health authorities,” he said.

Bell declined an interview saying he did not trust The Interior News, but provided the following statement via text:

“This tyrannical NDP government is attacking our basic freedom and liberty. I do not have to wear a mask, this is not a safety issue. This is government control over our personal liberty, beliefs, and thoughts. I encourage everyone to just take your masks off and say no, we are not dangerous to one another. It’s a shame to see media being complicit in spreading lies and fear over masks and COVID.”

In the Oct. 17 municipal byelection, Bell came in third out of four candidates for councillor with 177 votes behind Mika Meyer with 531 and Colin Bateman with 443. He also unsucessfully ran for mayor in 2018 against now-Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach.

READ MORE: 6 things you need to know about B.C’s latest COVID-19 health orders



deb.meissner@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Town has passed the 2021 budget, with a five per cent spending increase. (Claire Palmer photo)
Town council approves 2021 budget and tax rate bylaw

The budget will increase by five per cent this year

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Splatsin First Nation concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action - report

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP officers helped return Chocnut, a stolen Pomeranian, to his family on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Vernon police track down dog thief, return Pomeranian to owners

‘People often ask what the best part of being a police officer is. Well, this is it, helping people’

The community is rallying around Phil Hotzon who needs a new electric tricycle. (Contributed)
Tricycle for Phil: Support pours in for Kelowna man with traumatic brain injury

Phil Hotzon lost his electric tricycle after falling into Mill Creek, fundraiser aims to replace it

The area around the Christie Mountain wildfire that was restricted to the public is no longer restricted effective at 12 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (BC Wildfire photo)
The area around where the Christie Mountain wildfire took place is officially restricted to the public effective May 12. (BC Wildfire photo)
Christie Mountain wildlife area near Penticton closed to public

The area was damaged in 2020 by the Christie Mountain wildfire

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

A topographic (3D) perspective captured from Google Earth to create a perspective of the approximate proposed cut block outlines on Mount Ida in relation to familiar local landmarks. (Alex Inselberg image)
Salmon Arm council’s concerns eased over Mount Ida logging

Fire chief said proposed cut complements wildfire risk reduction efforts next to industrial park

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

The Salmo Public Library’s director Taylor Caron with her award. Photo: Submitted
Salmo Public Library director wins provincial award

Taylor Caron has been recognized by her peers for innovation and advocacy

Most Read