Ottawa police have apologized for how they handled an incident where a white woman called 911 on a Black man in a park, leading the operator to tell the man he’s intimidating the woman.
The incident was posted on Twitter and shows a woman walking by a lone man while describing him on the phone to a 911 operator.
The man who posted the video said it was taken by his brother, and said the woman called police because his brother wasn’t two metres away from her while they crossed a bridge.
In the video, the woman turns the call on to speakerphone and the operator talks directly to the man to tell him he’s intimidating the woman.
“Sir… do we really need to send a police officer just for you let this girl by?” the operator asks.
“I’m not stopping her from coming by,” said the man before being interrupted.
“You’re intimidating her, sir, okay, can you just stand to the side,” the operator says, as the man replies that he’s already standing to the side.
The man remains at a distance from the woman throughout the video and she eventually walks away while still on the phone.
The police force replied to the Twitter video and said they have spoken with the man who posted it to offer a “full and unreserved apology.”
“We are fully reviewing this incident,” said Ottawa Police on Twitter.
“At this point it is clear that this was not an appropriate use of the 911 system and the Service did not act appropriately in handling the call.”
Police said no charges have been applied related to the incident at this time.
The incident comes months after a video in New York’s Central Park showed a white woman calling police after a Black man requested she leash her dog.
In that video, she told the man that she’d call police and tell them he was threatening her.
She then called police and told the operator that the man was threatening as he stood at a distance from her.
The woman, who was since identified as Amy Cooper, has been charged with filing a false police report and was fired from her job over the May incident.
Cooper has since apologized and said she reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about the man’s intentions.
— With files from Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.