Man charged with uttering threats after comments targeting women and Winnipeg police
Police arrested a Winnipeg man who they said posted comments online expressing contempt for women and threatening to kill someone.
Justin Peter Bodnarchuk, 39, was arrested Monday following widespread reports of threatening social media posts, the Winnipeg Police Department said in a press release Tuesday.
The messages expressed contempt for women, feminists and the Winnipeg police, the statement said.
One message also included a threat to kill a specific person, police said.
Bodnarchuk has been charged with three counts of threats of death or bodily harm.
He was taken into custody.
A LinkedIn account associated with Bodnarchuk says he is a kinesiologist and personal trainer at Aspect Fitness in Winnipeg. He appears in several videos on Aspect Fitness’s Instagram account promoting himself and his fitness tips.
“Certainly crossed a threshold”
Winnipeg Police Const. Dani McKinnon declined to confirm whether Bodnarchuk had ever been charged or convicted of other offenses.
She also did not provide details of what was said in the messages in question.
McKinnon said the comments allegedly made by Bodnarchuk were posted on a popular social media platform and there were dozens of reports filed with police about them.
Police are called often about potential threats, McKinnon said. Investigators are examining whether the threats are ambiguous or veiled, versus those with “real credibility” that may warrant arrest, she said.
It can come down to the wording.
“Words like ‘kill’ … ‘kill’ or ways of harming a person, or other words that would generally alarm or scare a reasonable person, which are valued in the investigation,” McKinnon said. .
“The language that was used in these posts definitely crossed the threshold of a mere veiled comment – perhaps considered inappropriate -, and it was deemed a Criminal Code offense.”
She encourages people who encounter threatening comments online, or those that contain inappropriate images or hate language targeting an individual or group, to report them through the social media platform and consider contacting law enforcement. local order.
Court records show Bodnarchuk was ordered to stay away from a former domestic partner in August 2019 after she told court officials that he had been physically abusive towards her on several occasions,
A judicial justice of the peace ordered him to stay at least 200 meters from the woman and her children, and to have no contact with them. The order is valid until August 2022.
For months, the Aspect Fitness Instagram account which appears to be run by Bodnarchuk has been posting misogynistic comments and insulting people who denounce his posts.
Men invited to speak
Kelly Gorkoff, an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg whose research focuses on gender-based violence, says she believes some of the comments on the account could be seen as hate speech against women, especially feminists.
“It fits with the idea of speaking against a designated group of individuals,” Gorkoff said.
Rebecca Sullivan, professor in the Gender and Sexuality Studies program at the University of Calgary, said for this behavior to stop, people, especially men, must stand up to it.
“I think a real problem in our society is, quite frankly, that a lot of men think there is a tolerable level of harassment and abuse that the men in their world can direct against women before they say anything. thing, ”Sullivan said. .
“And that level of tolerance increases more and more each time it is crossed.”