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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

The IIO’s chief civilian director has cleared Victoria police of any wrongdoing in the Nov. 21 death of a man they had earlier arrested. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation clears Victoria police of wrongdoing in arrested man’s death

Police watchdog determined police action or inaction played no role in man’s death

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

Penny Hart is calling on the community to help find her son Sean Hart who was last seen on Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Search spreads for Saanich man missing from mental health facility for nearly a month

Family hopeful as possible sightings reported across Island and in Vancouver

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Most Read