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

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

This is the third year Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz have picked up cans in the backcountry and donated the proceeds to COSAR. (Central Okanagan Search and Rescue)
Kelowna couple cleans forests for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz donated $3,200 to COSAR

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

The roof is rising at the Okanagan Wealth Advisors Pickleball Complex at Marshall Field (Nov. 30, 2020). (Contributed)
Raising the roof over Vernon Pickleball courts

Upon completion, Vernon will be home to country’s biggest dedicated Pickleball courts

Kimberly Feeny, left, rescues, fosters and homes cats with the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program. She and friend Lisa Valenta, right, spent Friday, Nov. 27 nursing seven resuced kitties at Feeny’s home in Grand Forks. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Kootenay women working to rescue 20 cats in feral colony

Kimberly Feeny and Lisa Valenta are nursing seven cats rescued east of Grand Forks, B.C.

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Most Read