A Similkameen homeowner is heartbroken at the damage done to her home by police, alleging RCMP went too far when responding to a call on Saturday night.
Christine Allison said her home is now unliveable, after officers broke windows, tore off the front door, distributed tear gas canisters and damaged walls to arrest her son.
RCMP shared in a press release on Tuesday that they were responding to reports of a man possibly shooting a rifle outside a residence near Hedley and had shut down Highway 3 as a result.
According to police, officers were called at approximately 6 p.m., where they identified a man with several outstanding warrants for his arrest upon arrival.
The Southeast District Emergency Response Team arrived and provided assistance. The man was taken into custody hours later.
Christine said she was working a night shift up at the mine when she got a call from a family member that her son, Shane Allison, was arrested.
Earlier that night, a family member had reported to police about Shane shooting a .22 out toward the river on her property and was worried about him firing a gun while being under the influence, and possibly hurting himself.
“She made the decision to call the RCMP and let them know, and hopefully they could come down and just talk to Shane and, either [say] ‘Go to bed, or come with us,’” Christine said.
“I've always had a good rapport with Princeton RCMP over the years. So dealing with situations with my youngest daughter, Mary, who's no longer with us and Shane himself.”
Mary Allison passed away in a car crash in August 2022.
Ajay Allison, Christine’s younger son, was home that night and said he was also caught off guard by the police actions.
Before police arrived, Ajay said one of their family members had already come over and removed the gun from Shane.
When the entire tactical unit showed up Saturday night, Ajay said he was in his room watching a movie while his brother Shane was in his own, sleeping for the past few hours.
He started getting calls from family members telling him there were police and a SWAT team outside the house.
“I looked out my window and did not see anybody around. I finally walked up to the porch and I heard drones. So I started looking in the sky looking for the drones and then these two guys out of nowhere—fully armoured up and had guns and everything—they whispered down to me to come down the stairs. So I did. And after that, I told them that my brother was inside the house, he was sleeping in this room, and all the doors were unlocked,” Ajay added. “ I also let them know that the gun was removed off the premises and off the property.”
“I don't think they really cared what I had to say at that point.”
In his past run-ins with police, Ajay said that while he can be a “bit of a hothead”, he cooperates and has conversations with officers to de-escalate situations.
At this point, Ajay said the other family members had left the premises or been escorted out of the property by police, aside from Shane.
Ajay claimed police told him the drones had identified how many people were in the house and who was in each room.
“They took me off the premises, and I went to my sister's house. And when they stormed the house, my dog was locked in my room, and they tear-gassed the house. And my poor dog was left inside the house with all the tear gas,” he added.
When the police gave them the okay to come back past 1 a.m. that night, the family claims they found the house "totally destroyed" and smelling of tear gas. Their dog was left traumatized. Officers also had slashed the tires on Shane’s truck and broken his door.
Ajay said he was "devastated" by what he saw.
Christine said she didn’t understand why police had to damage her home and the two other rooms in order to arrest Shane, especially with the equipment and dialogue provided on the situation given to them.
“If you knew where everybody was, why did you blow a hole through my bedroom window and rip off all my covers off of my bed and burn my floor from the stuff? When you knew that there was nobody in that room? He's downstairs. So why are you blowing up my window upstairs?” she added.
“Even after the fact that they were told he was sleeping, they still came and blew up my house. We can't live here because of the tear gas. And now it's got to be cleaned, my windows are blown out. My door was ripped right off the hinges with a hole through it. I want answers.”
Since the arrest, Christine said she hasn’t heard anything back from the RCMP.
“Everybody thinks that they just used it for an exercise in the end. Drive three to four hours to get here to find a sleeping young man. So they use it for a training exercise,” Christine claimed.
“It was one young man who was now sleeping, which initially started off with just shooting a .22 out into the field. Our nearest neighbour is like half a kilometre away. It just blows my mind how they could do this and not even reach out or anything.”
While Shane has a lengthy rap sheet, previously convicted of break and enter, assault causing bodily harm, and uttering death threats, among other charges, Christine claimed he had never been aggressive or violent with officers.
The family said they understood that police were coming, and Shane was going to be arrested. They were simply unhappy with the way it was handled.
“I understand why they wanted to come to arrest him, but not the way they handled it. It was totally not fair of people that lived there,” Ajay said.
“We can’t live here. Even after days, it still reeks in there of tear gas. We don't know the extent of the damage until we have somebody come in and actually go through the house and let us know what the extent is,” Christine said.
“Right now we're basically sleeping on my daughter's couch in a little two-bedroom place. We can't come home.”
The family has temporarily covered up a couple of windows on the house, trying to keep some of the cold out while leaving others open to air out the gas. When the family took Castanet on a tour of the inside, the presence of tear gas was still very obvious.
Castanet also requested an interview with RCMP to provide clarity on why the level of response was needed and what options are for the repairs to the home.
Cpl. James Grandy, spokesperson for the BC RCMP, supplied the following statement:
“The Southeast District Emergency Response Team are called in when the risk to public and officer safety is elevated. While every effort will be made to de-escalate the situation and have the subject surrender peacefully, not all subjects are willing to surrender and enforcement action is required to take them into custody and preserve public safety. To ensure the safety of our officers and the subject, certain tactics may be employed to facilitate physical entry into a premise.
We recognize that many entries can be dynamic and may cause damages when a subject has locked or otherwise barricaded the residence. In every case where damage is caused by police actions, we will engage our National Claims Management Program. Once police release the scene, the property representative can secure the building, repair any damages and seek compensation through the Claims Centre.”
Christine said she wants more than just repairs done to her home in a timely manner, she also wants to speak with the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth and the RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme.
“I want them to personally contact me and give me my answers.”
She’s also demanding that police provide body cam footage from that night.
“I want to see what happened after they had taken everybody out of the home and left Shane sleeping. I want to know what happened to my home,” she added.
“They know they went over the top board to this and it's bullsh*t.”
Shane Allison has been charged with careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm contrary to order and breach of release order. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Friday. He has not had contact with his family and is believed to still be in custody.