PETERBOROUGH-A local woman says she is shocked after receiving a surprise visit from Peterborough County OPP on February 10th.
“While I was making dinner there was a knock at my door.” Nadine Ellis-Maffei told Kawartha 411 News. “We live on a farm in the country, so we don’t get too many people knocking on our front door. My daughter thought it may have been a customer that needed something from our farm store.”
The knock on the door was from Peterborough County OPP who explained they were there because of a Facebook post that Ellis-Maffei had made.
She says the only post she can think of is one she had made just a few hours earlier on a Havelock Freedom Convoy group.
“This is the only page I can think of, it’s in regards to a peaceful protest that is happening this weekend. I have family members there I grew up there that’s why someone had shared it with me to become part of that group.” say says “This afternoon I went onto the Facebook group liked the page as well as like some of the posts.”
Ellis-Maffei videotaped part of the conversation. In the video, the officer states she is there simply to provide a pamphlet on “peaceful protests”.
The OPP says this is something police do on occasion.
“Publicly available information is used at times by the Provincial Liason Team (PLT) to identify event organizers for outreach. Proactive contact is one way to help facilitate events that are safe and lawful.” Gosia Puzio, Media Relations & Community Services Coordinator, Central Region Ontario Provincial Police told Kawartha 411 News.
However, a former police officer we spoke to says this is not normal practice and could be illegal.
“This is surveillance. Facebook is a public domain. That’s fair game. But to find where someone lives you would need to use a police database and that’s wrong.” a retired officer, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Kawartha 411 News. “I question the use of MTO, NICHE or CPIC for this.”
The OPP says there was no threat of violence mentioned in the post that prompted the visit. We asked how many other visits like this the OPP has made but did not get an answer to that question.
Ellis-Maffei says she doesn’t blame the officer who was just “doing her job” but she says police brass should be held to account.
“What happened was not right, and it shouldn’t have happened,” says Ellis-Maffei.
“I am in shock, it is unbelievable that this is happening at all.” says the former officer.