A video showing a Duncan hair salon owner being arrested over a mask dispute is sparking a lot of debate.
“When I asked them what crime I had committed or what law I had broken, they didn’t have an answer because I haven’t broken any,” says Taneal Maloney, owner of Fallen for Nails, Hair & Beauty Salon.
Maloney claims police and bylaw officers have been harassing her for not wearing a mask at her Duncan salon. She says she has an exemption but admits she sometimes lets others go mask-less in the salon.
“Bylaw comes by about three times a day, tries to open my doors and they loiter around,” says Maloney. “I’ve become a target and it’s been going on for about a month and a half.”
In the video, a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officer can be heard saying “I think we went through this last time with you. I don’t want to arrest you for this. This is a silly thing to be arrested over.”
On a previous police visit in December, Maloney says she was issued a ticket for not wearing a face covering.
This time around, however, Maloney argued with RCMP over whether she was required to produce identification and refused to do so.
“So you can write me a ticket?” Maloney says in the video. “If I don’t have ID how can you write me a ticket? I’m not doing anything wrong.”
RCMP told Maloney if she wouldn’t produce ID, she was under arrest for obstruction.
They handcuffed her and took her to the police car.
“It’s an offence under section 129 of the criminal code to obstruct an officer in the execution of their duties,” says Const. Carlie McCann of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. “If a person has been found committing an offence under a provincial or federal law or a bylaw, and refuses to provide their name or identify themselves to officers investigating or dealing with the offence, it is considered obstruction.”
Maloney says she was detained for 15 minutes and then issued another ticket under the province’s COVID-19 Related Measures Act for not wearing a mask.
“I felt more violated that they were there just pressuring me, I mean there’s a lot of other things going on in world than worrying about a salon owner letting people in with or without exemptions,” she says.
RCMP say issuing tickets and arresting someone is a last resort when other enforcement efforts have failed.
Maloney now has curtains up in her window, the front door is locked and says she plans on fighting the ticket.