Surrey Creep Catchers president Ryan LaForge says his group has performed as many as seven “citizens arrests” in this city since it set up here in the summer of 2016, and many more “stings.”
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.
The group has since been peppered with defamation lawsuits, privacy commission desist orders, and assault charges against LaForge himself stemming from a “citizens arrest” earlier this year, which is expected to go to trial in June 2018. And, of course, continued criticism from the Surrey RCMP.
The list grows.
“I swear Facebook is messing with me,” LaForge told the Now-Leader on Friday. He said he’s battling to keep his account up.
“They’re restricting me. When we used to go live, people could share the live. Now, you can’t share live any more. When I first got my account back they wouldn’t let me go live, this account is not allowed to go live, then when I finally bitched I got my live back. Now — we used to get a thousand views just on our lives — where I’m lucky to get a hundred, because no one can share it any more.”
LaForge also said a law firm that’s handling defamation cases, as people they catch are “obviously” told to go to the firm, has been telling him more cases are on the way, for stuff other chapters were allegedly involved in, not his.
Meantime, Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said that just before 8 p.m. on Nov. 8 Surrey Mounties responded to a “call for service” in the 10300-block of 152nd Street in Guildford, connected to Creep Catchers activity. “Allegations of child luring were being made against a man,” Schumann said. Investigators have reviewed “not only eye witness accounts but also video depicting some of the incident.
A man was arrested, he noted, but was released with no charges laid.
“Police are currently investigating the allegations and will conduct a thorough investigation,” Schumann said. “As the investigation is ongoing, police are not in a position to discuss identity of the parties or details of the allegations at this point.
“As we have said previously, the Surrey RCMP does not support, condone or recommend vigilantism,” Schumann said. “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.”
“It’s not helpful. Most times it kind of works against investigations,” Schumann said.