A pastor and his brother were arrested in Calgary over the weekend for organizing an illegal face-to-face meeting in violation of current public health regulations.
According to the Calgary Police Service (CPS), Artur Pawlowski and Dawid Pawlowski were arrested and charged with organizing an illegal face-to-face meeting. This includes “soliciting, inciting, or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, promoting, and attending an illegal public gathering,” a CPS press release said.
Pawlowski is a pastor at Street Church in Calgary, best known for confronting Calgary police officers during an Easter weekend service calling them “Nazis”, “Communists” and “Gestapo”.
On Thursday May 6th, Alberta Health Services (AHS) secured an order from the Court of Queen’s Bench covering gatherings such as protests, demonstrations and rallies.
The regulation introduces new restrictions for meeting organizers, requiring both organizers and attendees to follow current public health regulations, such as:
CPS enforced this measure on Saturday morning when officials served an organizer of a service with the court order. This was done to ensure that citizens attending Saturday worship were following current COVID-19 public health regulations.
According to the press release, the order was served before the service and CPS did not enter the church during the service.
The service organizers allegedly confirmed the order but chose to continue the event and ignored the requirements for distancing, mask-wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees.
As a result, the Pavlovsky brothers were arrested and charged with organizing an illegal personal gathering in violation of current COVID-19 restrictions.
A third person, who also attended the service, was served with the order later on Saturday. This person has not yet been arrested. However, the investigation into the individual continues, according to the CPS.
“It is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to attend religious gatherings and the right to protest,” a CPS press release said.
“However, as we are in the midst of a global pandemic, we must all comply with public health regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.”
The Calgary Police Department urges anyone considering organizing or participating in outdoor events to ensure they are familiar with public health requirements and do their part to prevent the virus from spreading further.