Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly has resigned, sources confirmed to CTV News Ottawa.
Sloly’s resignation comes amid criticism of his handling of the ongoing trucker protests in downtown Ottawa.
The protests have reached day 19, with demonstrators encamped on Wellington Street and the surrounding area and showing no signs of leaving.
Sloly issued his resignation to Diane Deans, Ottawa’s police services board chair, on Monday, sources said. Deputy Chief Steve Bell will be the interim chief.
The city’s police board is scheduled to hold a public meeting at 2:30 p.m., which you can watch live on this page. The board has been meeting privately since 10:30 a.m.
Sloly was named chief in August 2019. His contract was due to end in 2024.
Residents have expressed increasing outrage at the Ottawa police response to the occupation, with the protesters taking over downtown streets and freely transport fuel and other supplies to and from their encampments.
The decision to allow the trucks to drive onto Wellington Street and park in the first place has also been criticized.
As late as Monday morning, Mayor Jim Watson expressed confidence in Sloly as chief, saying the city needed more resources from the provincial and federal governments.
In the midst of the crisis as the trucker convoy was refusing to budge, Sloly told people around him that he was trying to avoid bloodshed like the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
He firmly believed it was a success that there was no major violence, and that if it escalated the situation could cost police officers and protesters their lives.
Sloly has spent the last week asking for reinforcements, saying last Monday he needed 1,800 more police personnel to end the protest.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that he did not “accept the contention that the city of Ottawa has exhausted its tools and resources.”
Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday, granting law enforcement increased powers to end the demonstration and others like it across Canada.
Early last week, Sloly said he had no plans to resign.
“I came here to do a job and I’m going to get that job done all the way through,” he said on Monday.
This is a breaking news story. More to come…
– with files from Cristina Tenaglia, CP24