The Tiny House Warriors are taking their fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline to the courtroom, with two protesters filing lawsuits against the Crown corporation and a contractor alleging they were beat up by a security guard two years ago.
Nicole Manuel and Tricia Charlie, both of whom identify themselves as members of the Tiny House Warriors protest group, have filed separate lawsuits in B.C. Supreme Court against Trans Mountain and security contractor ForsytheInvestments.
The incidents are alleged to have taken place in Blue River on Sept. 15, 2021.
Manuel claims she was thrown to the ground by an unnamed security guard.
“The security guard held [Manuel] down by pushing his knees into her chest and then into her groin, causing serious injury to her abdomen and pelvis,” her claim reads.
“The security guard restrained [Manuel] by pinning her with his knees using his full body weight.”
Manuel also claims to have suffered injuries to her fingers and elbow as the result of a “compliance hold.”
Charlie, meanwhile, claims she suffered injuries to her feet and ankles, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, as a result of the alleged attack on her.
“During the assault, the security guard used excessive and unnecessary pain compliance on [Charlie], causing injury to her legs, ankles and feet while restraining her by applying pain compliance by putting his full weight using his knees on her legs,” her claim alleges.
“The physical force applied to [Charlie] by the security guard caused [Charlie] grievous and permanent physical and psychological injuries.”
Both lawsuits describe the alleged assaults as “unprovoked, unwarranted and in complete disregard of ordinary standards of morality or decent conduct.”
The Tiny House Warriors are a First Nations group opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Manuel and her sister, Kanahus, are prominent members of the group, and both have been politically active for decades.
The Manuel sisters, daughters of former Neskonlith Chief Arthur Manuel, were arrested in 2001 after erecting a highway blockade near Sun Peaks, protesting the development of the mountain resort. Both were later convicted of intimidation charges and sentenced to serve short jail sentences.
Nicole Manuel is in the process of appealing her conviction on charges laid after she was among a group of protesters that stormed a high-level Trans Mountain meeting in 2018.
The defendants in Manuel and Charlie’s lawsuits will have three weeks to reply once they have been served.
None of the allegations in either claim have been proven in court.