Activists Offer Reward to “Bring Justice” to Trucker Charged in Death of Protester
Burlington, ON – Animal rights activists in Canada are furious that a trucker was not charged with murder in the death of a protester in June, and say they are “taking matters into their own hands in order to bring justice.”
On Monday, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) announced a 28-year-old male trucker from the Municipality of North Perth has been charged with Careless Driving Causing Death under the Highway Traffic Act in the death of 65-year-old animal rights activist Regan Russell of Hamilton.
Russell was participating in a “pig vigil” outside of Fearmans Pork meat processing facility at Appleby Line and Harvester Road around 10:20 a.m. on June 19 when she was fatally struck by a livestock hauler.
Witnesses said Russell was attempting to feed and water the pigs inside the trailer when she was struck.
HRPS investigators determined the trucker did not intend to strike Russell.
Still, under the Highway Traffic Act, if convicted of the Careless Driving Causing Death charge, the unnamed driver could receive a fine of up to $50,000, imprisonment for up to two years, and a license suspension for up to five years.
However, activists are outraged over the charges.
In a statement released by Animal Save Movement (ASM) following the announcement of the charges, the group said, “This is completely unacceptable and justice has not been served.”
The identity of the driver has been closely guarded according to a disturbing report by OntarioFarmer.com.
The local livestock industry media outlet spoke to an executive of the trucking company the trucker was driving for at the time of the incident and reports there is growing fear for the driver’s safety.
Tyler Jutzi, vice president of Brussels Transport Ltd, told OntarioFarmer.com, “They know where we are but they don’t know him. If they did I’m scared of what they will do.”
Jutzi was referencing multiple alarming social media posts.
For instance, in a social media post on June 22, the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) offered a “reward” for information leading to the driver’s identity.
The organization wrote: “The Animal Liberation Press Office is offering a reward for information on the killer of Regan Russell, an animal rights activists [sic] murdered last week in Toronto.”
NAALPO implored, “His name and a photograph are requested by the Press Office, along with any other identifying information, as well as information to his whereabouts and any charges that may have been filed.”
The group assured anonymity to the person or persons who provided the driver’s identity, but promised the driver’s name and photograph would be “distributed widely here and on social media.”
In a press release issued on July 12, the group alleged the trucker had clear visibility of Russell, but still “accelerated towards her, and continued to drive even as her body was torn in half.”
However, HRPS investigators determined that’s not what happened.
“This investigation included the interview of several witnesses, analysis of physical evidence, and a technical reconstruction of the collision,” an HRPS statement said. “In addition, video footage that captured the entirety of the incident was reviewed by investigators.”
Jutzi says the threats of violence against the trucker are being taken seriously by the Ontario Provincial Police, but many are worried about the driver’s well-being.
“People were talking about blowing up trucks, calling him a murderer or wanting to murder him,” he stated.
Leaders in the local agricultural community are urging law enforcement officials to better enforce laws designed to keep protesters and activists off of the roadways and prevent these tragic incidents from occurring.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow this story.