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 police are investigating after several vehicles were smashed and a basement was flooded along lower Cook Street March 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating smashed vehicles, flooded basement on Cook Street

Police seeking witnesses, footage of several ‘mischief’ incidents

Hundreds of child care spaces will be available in Greater Victoria in the coming two years. (Unsplash)
More than 300 child care spaces opening in Greater Victoria in next two years

Province announces spaces in Victoria, Sooke, Saanich and North Saanich

This dead fir tree is one of many in Mount Douglas Park. Nine dead trees will be removed from the Douglas Creek site starting March 8 to make way for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge. (Photo courtesy Jason Clarke)
Nine dead, hazardous trees to be removed from Saanich park ahead of bridge construction

Felling begins March 8, minor trail interruptions expected in Mount Douglas Park

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Missing woman’s remains recovered after Vancouver Island boat fire

Remains of a 60-year-old woman recovered after Feb. 27 boat fire took her life

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

Most Read