Tom Zytaruk and Amy Reid
SURREY — The president of Surrey Creep Catchers says he was charged with assault after trying to place a target under citizen’s arrest, but police say otherwise.
Ryan LaForge’s organization aims to weed out “potential predators” by posing as children online, arranging to meet adults who think they’ve been communicating with a child, confronting them, filming them and then posting the videos on Facebook.
He told the Surrey Now-Leader that he was doing a “sting” on a man in Whalley early Monday evening, who he alleged came to pay for sex with a six-year-old. This was at 6:30 p.m., he said, outside a Tim Horton’s at Central City Shopping Centre.
LaForge alleges that police arrested his target, then him.
“He went to leave but we had the police called ahead of time so I placed him under citizen’s arrest,” LaForge said, “allowing myself to use enough force to keep him there until police arrive.
“He kept trying to leave so I kept pushing him back.”
LaForge said that when the police arrived, the corporal in charge asked him to stop filming, “and I declined.
“He wasn’t happy, so at the end of the episode he came and arrested me for assault.”
LaForge said he was taken in to be fingerprinted and was then released on a promise to appear in court.
“The creep we caught was arrested and released even before I was,” LaForge said.
Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said one person was arrested and released on a promise to appear in court. “No charges have been laid.”
The incident happened in the 10100-block of King George Boulevard, he said, with police responding to allegations “from two parties” including child luring and assault.
Schumann said police reviewed eye witness accounts and are reviewing video “depicting some of the incident.
“As we have said previously, the Surrey RCMP does not support, condone, or recommend vigilantism,” Schumann added. “Vigilantism, no matter how well meaning, does not involve police, and therefore is void of ongoing safety considerations. Vigilantism is a risk to the safety of all those involved including victims, or potential victims, the alleged suspects, and/or the safety of those persons intent on broadcasting the suspected crime.”
See more: Meet Surrey’s Creep Catcher Ryan LaForge
Surrey Creep Catchers is currently the subject of several lawsuits filed by people the organization has targeted. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commission is also conducting and investigation based on a complaint LaForge said was lodged by the lawyer of a subject his organization “blasted” on social media.
“No matter what, we’re not taking the videos down,” LaForge said after that investigation was launched. “That would defeat the whole purpose of what we’re doing.”
The group claims to have outed several people including Surrey RCMP Constable Dario Devic, who was arrested on Sept. 9, 2016 after SCC did a sting outside a local mall.
See more: Surrey Mountie accused of child luring