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Posts falsely claim 50% of Ottawa police quit over protests

February 7, 2022 GMT
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 in Ottawa. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, The Associated Press reported on posts circulating online that falsely claimed 50% of Ottawa police officers had resigned in response to protests against vaccine mandates. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press via AP)
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 in Ottawa. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, The Associated Press reported on posts circulating online that falsely claimed 50% of Ottawa police officers had resigned in response to protests against vaccine mandates. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press via AP)
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 in Ottawa. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, The Associated Press reported on posts circulating online that falsely claimed 50% of Ottawa police officers had resigned in response to protests against vaccine mandates. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press via AP)
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 in Ottawa. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, The Associated Press reported on posts circulating online that falsely claimed 50% of Ottawa police officers had resigned in response to protests against vaccine mandates. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press via AP)
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 in Ottawa. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, The Associated Press reported on posts circulating online that falsely claimed 50% of Ottawa police officers had resigned in response to protests against vaccine mandates. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press via AP)

CLAIM: Half of the police officers in Canada’s capital city resigned on Monday in support of protests against vaccine requirements.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no truth to these claims, according to both the Ottawa Police Service and the Ottawa Police Association, a union representing the vast majority of officers in the agency. To date, none of the OPA’s 2,000 sworn or civilian members have quit over the protests, according to OPA president Matt Skof.

THE FACTS: Protests led by a convoy of truckers against vaccine mandates have not prompted half of Ottawa police officers to quit, contrary to claims made by one protest advocate.

“Fifty percent of the Ottawa police force have all turned in their resignation today,” Patrick King, a Canadian resident who has promoted the convoy in interviews and on social media, said in a livestreamed video on Facebook on Sunday night.

Social media users seized on the clip, sharing it across Twitter, TikTok and other platforms with captions declaring it meant that Ottawa truckers were “WINNING” and that police were “siding with the protesters.”

But this is “in no way accurate,” according to Skof, who said his organization represents all of the Ottawa Police Service with the exception of about 50 senior officers and four police executives.

“To date, there have been no resignations related to the freedom convoy demonstration,” Skof said in an email.

Constable Amy Gagnon, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa Police Service, also confirmed the claims were false, saying all available Ottawa police officers were working and there had been “no resignations due to the demonstration.”

The rumor “is simply not factual,” said Patrick Champagne, press secretary to Ottawa’s mayor, Jim Watson, adding that no resignations had been reported to the mayor’s office.

King did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.