John is a dear friend and neighbour of ours. He is a senior citizen who cares deeply about the environment where we live in Nova Scotia. On May 23, 2019 he was falsely accused by a multinational gold mining corporation of creating a disturbance at a public meeting, then violently arrested. A link to a video of the arrest is further down.
So John has filed a lawsuit against Atlantic Gold and the RCMP. He feels strongly it is his duty to hold them to account for the injuries and harm they have done and to do what he can to stop this from happening again.
John’s legal team say he will need $15,000 to cover expert witnesses, medical reports, and investigative expenses to support his civil suit.
We are asking for your help in holding companies and the police accountable so that this situation does not happen again in our communities. Thanks for any size donation. It all helps!
The Longer Story
The false accusations of creating a disturbance were made in a 9-1-1 call to the local RCMP who immediately came to the Fire Hall where the meeting was taking place. Without any effort to investigate what had happened, the RCMP officer asked John to leave. When he didn’t leave, the officer grabbed him and forcibly pushed him out of the meeting room, dragged him to the floor and handcuffed him, injuring him in the process. He was brought to the police station where he remained in lock up for 2 hours then released without charges. The arrest happened so fast and was so unexpected, he didn’t know what to do. He felt humiliated, powerless and scared. The experience affected him greatly.
View a short video of the arrest here or a longer one below
Now John is angry. He didn't create any disturbance at the meeting. There had been no disturbance at all. Now he is worried about the chilling effect his treatment by Atlantic Gold and the RCMP will have on other citizens who participate in public meetings or public debate, especially those who seek to protect the environment. The only reason that we can think for the corporation to falsely accuse him of causing a disturbance is that they did not like the questions John had asked at an earlier meeting an hour before. They called the RCMP to silence him and to prevent him from asking any critical questions that would be heard by fellow Nova Scotians attending the meeting.
If it went unchallenged John’s arrest could send a message that corporations are legally permitted to make false accusations against citizens and have them arrested then repeat their false accusations to the media and the public and disparage people’s reputations.
John is also very concerned that the RCMP acted on such false accusations without any investigation whatsoever.
So John is suing because he feels strongly it is his duty to hold those responsible to account for the injuries and harm they have done and to do what he can to stop this from happening again.
John did not made this decision lightly. Court cases can be long and arduous.
He is overwhelmed by the support of his family, friends and the strangers who have reached out to him and who are as outraged as him by the events that took place on May 23. He is thankful to East Coast Environmental Law for the legal guidance and support they have given. He is thankful to the St. Marys’s River Association, The Sierra Club and the Ecology Action Centre for their continuing support.
He is especially thankful to his Mi’kmaq friends and land and water protectors who have vowed to stand beside him in peace and friendship in this fight.
We and John thank you for your support and donations no matter how large or small.