RCMP account of how they entered my home is wrong, mom says

Cortney Pike stands inside the frame of the door of her home, where she says two RCMP officers entered unannounced around 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning. (Troy Turner/CBC)

A Mount Moriah, N.L. mother is pushing back against the RCMP’s explanation for why two officers entered her home without permission through an unlocked door early Sunday morning.

“After a sustained period of knocking, door bell ringing and verbal communication, police entered the residence through an unlocked door, verbally announcing their presence,” said the RCMP in a statement on Tuesday.

In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, Cortney Pike said that statement is not accurate.

“I just feel like they’re trying to justify their reason for coming into my home,” she said.

“They’re just saying that they knocked and rang doorbells, and when nobody answered they had probable cause to enter the house.”

She said the claim that officers rang her doorbell especially surprised her.

“We don’t have a doorbell. This house has never had a doorbell. Ever.”

Cortney Pike sent these photos to CBC News, and said they show the doors to her house. Neither door appears to have a doorbell. In a statement on Tuesday, the RCMP said the officers rang a doorbell before entering. (Submitted by Cortney Pike)

CBC News has asked the RCMP to respond to Pike’s statement.

Earlier this week, Pike told CBC News she was awoken around 5:30 a.m. NT on Sunday to the sounds of footsteps and voices inside her western Newfoundland home — footsteps and voices that belonged to two RCMP officers who had entered her home through an unlocked door. 

Pike said the officers woke her 11-year-old daughter and questioned her while shining a flashlight in her face.

Pike said she would have heard if the officers had been knocking and making noise prior to entering, or her dog would have started barking.

“They obviously had to sneak in very quietly,” she said.

The statement from the RCMP says the officers entered the home because they were looking for a missing 17-year-old youth. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which has jurisdiction in nearby Corner Brook, said the youth was later found safe.

‘Very unusual’: CCLA

Abby Deshman, Criminal Justice program director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the incident is concerning.

“It seems very unusual for the police to have entered a house in the night and spoken directly to a minor without asking where their parents were,” she said.

Abby Deshman, Criminal Justice program director for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the incident described by Pike is concerning. (CBC)

Deshman said the police are allowed to enter a home without permission, but only in certain urgent or life-threatening situations, or if they have specific evidence. 

“They can’t just wander into someone’s house because there’s been a missing person’s report. They need more than that.”

Deshman said in Newfoundland and Labrador, a judge can also grant police permission to enter a home, but there’s been no indication that happened. 

‘It really upset me’

Deshman said situations like the one described by Pike aren’t always reported.

“We certainly hear, though, from people in communities — and in particular marginalized and racialized communities — that they feel that their rights are violated on a regular basis by police,” she said.

Pike said she hasn’t heard from the police since the incident, but has made a formal complaint with the RCMP. She said she’s also been in contact with legal counsel regarding the incident and is considering filing a lawsuit.

Pike said she feels like the statement from the RCMP, which she first saw through media reports, was meant to make her look like a liar. She said she wants a public apology.

“I had no reason to make up a story like this, you know what I mean? They came into my daughter’s bedroom and it really upset me.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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