It was busier than usual at Swift Current provincial court Monday.
More than 20 Creep Catchers were present to support the president of Swift Current’s chapter, David Swanson, who is charged with causing a disturbance.
Creep Catchers pose as young girls online and engage in conversation with alleged ‘creeps’ asking to meet up. They then take a video of the encounter to shame the ‘creep’ on social media.
In a Facebook video posted June 7, Swanson meets up with Aaron Francis, who’s the alleged ‘creep’.
In the video, he and Francis exchange swear words and Francis pushes Swanson down to the ground.
Francis was charged with assault and causing a disturbance. He was sentenced June 27 to nine months probation and a 10-year firearms ban.
Swanson pleaded not guilty Monday and the trial is set for Oct. 5.
“This isn’t right,” said Greg Slammington, with the Calgary chapter.
“We’re providing a public service and our president (Swanson) got attacked by a man we believe to be a threat to society.”
Slammington was asked if the behaviour of Francis was predictable when the catchers try to trap people.
“These guys are baiting little girls on the internet,” he said. “It’s disgusting. It’s not right, and we shouldn’t be charged with anything ever.”
The police don’t like the public taking matters into their own hands, but according to Slammington, that’s not true.
“Off the record the police love us,” he said. “They’re fist bumping us, giving us the thumbs up, and they love what we are doing.”
Slammington said police just can’t condone the behaviour publicly.
“They’d be sending us into a potential danger zone and they can’t do that,” he said. “We aren’t vigilantes and the police will agree with us off the record with that statement.”