The Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) say they’ve launched a probe into various social media posts which have criticized and even threatened the bodily hurt of Niagara’s medical officer of well being, Dr. Mustafa Hirji.
The investigation is tied to feedback that popped up on various social platforms Friday and Saturday after Queen’s Park opted to place Niagara within the grey-lockdown stage of the province’s COVID-19 response framework, an motion Hirji publicly supported.
“There’s completely no place for these sorts of threats in Ontario. Lower it out,” Premier Doug Ford mentioned in a Tweet in help of Hirji on Saturday afternoon.
“Our well being officers have just one precedence: the well being and well-being of their communities. We’re fortunate to have such devoted public well being officers in Ontario.”
Niagara’s MOH made it recognized days earlier than the Ford authorities’s impending announcement to progressively raise lockdown restrictions that he was encouraging a continued lockdown for Niagara Area.
Hirji posted a seven-part tweet encouraging continued lockdown measures utilizing modelling from the UK, wherein a December reopening precipitated a big enhance in circumstances throughout the nation forcing another full closure simply three weeks later.
“If we raise the lockdown, circumstances will rise even quicker,” Hirji mentioned within the publish.
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“Our case numbers are dropping, however they’re nonetheless averaging effectively above the height of the primary wave. Ontario is primed to repeat the errors of the U.Okay. if we don’t be taught their lesson about reopening.”
On Saturday, various high-profile leaders throughout Ontario and Canada, together with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, got here to the defence of Hirji on social media condemning the latest threats.
“I’m outraged to listen to threats have been made towards Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the Medical Officer of Well being for Niagara Area,” Trudeau mentioned.
“This rhetoric is unacceptable, and I strongly condemn it. He, and all public well being officers working to maintain us secure, deserve nothing however our honest thanks.”
In a press release launched on Saturday, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Szendzik known as the threatening posts “disturbing” and backed Hirji calling him a “skilled.”
He went on to say he understood what number of had been “actually struggling” amid the pandemic and that the group “can’t afford” to come back aside.
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati known as the disparaging remarks on social media “unacceptable.”
“It’s OK to disagree, however to not disrespect.”
On Saturday evening, Hirji thanked the help he was getting from the group and mentioned the “talking up towards violence” was crucial message being despatched.
“Likewise, let’s not reject those that oppose my place as a result of just a few went too far,” Hirji mentioned on Twitter.
“Civil debate on how finest to handle the pandemic is important — to enhance our response, but in addition to construct shared understanding of the chosen method. We will be calm & civil, however nonetheless disagree.”
The NRPS says they won’t be commenting any additional on the continuing investigation.
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