The man was lying face down on the floor, his hands and feet tied behind his back while a woman could be heard screaming in the background.
“He come to my house to meet my 13-year-old [expletive] daughter. He wanted to be her first. We [expletive] tackled him and zap-strapped him and called the police,” the woman said as she filmed the hogtied man on Facebook Live last week.
The woman had previously reported the man to police, accusing him of trying to have sex with her teen daughter. But she claimed that investigators in the Canadian city of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island took no action, so she took matters into her own hands, CTV News Vancouver reported. Posing as her daughter, she messaged the man, who police said is an acquaintance of the family, on Instagram and invited him to her house. After he arrived, the woman punched him, she told CTV News, and then hogtied him on the floor with the help of her husband and another person.
The mother, whom CTV News did not name to avoid identifying her daughter, and the two others are the subject of a criminal investigation because of what authorities described as “vigilante action.” Cpl. Amelia Hayden of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they could be charged with assault causing bodily harm and forcible confinement.
“Police want to stress that at no time should the public take matters into their own hands. ... Vigilante actions like these are not only illegal and put people in danger, but they can also compromise the original investigation,” Hayden told reporters on Friday.
“You need to leave it to the investigators to do their job and, unfortunately, when people intervene, sometimes it doesn’t always help, and sometimes can make matters worse,” she added.
Vigilantes are described as members of the public who claim to enforce the law but lack the legal authority to do so. Cases in which citizens use violence against criminal suspects have been the subject of debates in Canada about whether such acts should be considered a crime or a righteous pursuit of justice to compensate for police shortcomings. In 2009, for example, a store owner was charged with assault and forcible enforcement after he chased a repeat shoplifter and locked him in his van. The store owner, David Chen, was acquitted after a trial, but his case — and the public’s admiration for those who take matters into their own hands — raised questions about whether confidence in police was declining.
The incident in Port Alberni occurred Thursday. Police said the 28-year-old man was lured to the home and was confronted by the three adults. He was taken to the hospital with injuries.
Police also said that the man, who was not identified, had been under investigation since March for trying to lure a child.
In the interview with CTV News, the woman said she reported the man to police after finding explicit messages sent to her daughter via Instagram. She claimed that police had not taken any action even after several weeks.
“They wouldn’t even look at my phone. They just said block him and forget about it,” the woman told CTV News.
“I just didn’t know what else to do. ... He needed to be stopped,” she added.
Her husband, the teen’s stepfather, said he should be allowed to take measures to protect his family.
“You know, like, this is ridiculous,” the stepfather, who also was not identified, told CTV News. “I felt that was the best way to do it.”
Hayden said the man who was hogtied was not arrested but is under investigation on suspicion of child luring, which is punishable by three to 18 months in prison.