'I'm in charge here': Mountie shuts down family soccer game
Published Saturday, July 4, 2015 1:03PM EDT
Soccer lovers in Surrey B.C. may be thinking twice before playing in public parks, after a family soccer game was brought to an abrupt end by police who kicked them off for not having a permit.
Satnam Singh Pawer said he and others were playing soccer near an elementary school when a bylaw officer called the RCMP to help boot them from the city field.
In a heated exchange that was caught on camera, the RCMP officer told Singh his family would need a permit to continue playing on city property.
In the video, she is seen clapping her hands and saying, "Listen to me, I’m in charge here today. So today, you will pick up your cones. You will go home."
When Pawer and others protest, the RCMP officer tells them to make a formal complaint to the city.
When they ask if the rule only applies to the one field, the bylaw officer says, "It is for all the city parks, sir."
The video ends with the men taking down the case file number and angrily asking for the officers’ names so they can make a complaint.
Pawar and his relatives say the confrontation was frustrating, and that it upset his ten-year-old son.
"Why not we can play? We were playing with kids," said Amandeep Singh Power, a family member who was there at the time. "(Pawer's son) still thinks we’re doing something wrong, something illegal."
Owen Croy, Surrey's manager of parks, said the city encourages families to use the facilities.
"The City of Surrey welcomes families and their kids to recreate and play games in our parks. That’s what they’re there for."
But he also said the officer was not entirely incorrect. Official games do technically need permits, but families playing informal games should be allowed to use the space as long as it’s free.
"The bylaw officer actually followed the letter of the bylaw, however, perhaps a bit more discretion could have been used," Croy said.
For Pawer, though, the clarification comes too late.
In a city known for its high crime rates, he said the city should be encouraging kids to stay on the fields, rather than on the streets.