Update: Kevin Johnston In Custody After Attempting To Cross Into US On Foot

Online streamer and failed mayoral candidate Kevin Johnston is currently the subject of an arrest warrant after failing to arrive at a Calgary remand centre as part of his conviction for breaking court orders.

Peter Smith
Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Update: Since publication, the Calgary Police Service has issued an update stating that "Kevin J Johnston was arrested by US Border Patrol agents early this morning while attempting to cross the Saskatchewan-Montana border on foot. He is being held in the town Plentywood, Montana, while we work to have him returned to Canada."

Kevin Johnston, the recipient of the country’s largest cyber libel civil ruling, is currently on the run from the law.

Calgary police confirmed that Johnston did not turn himself in to a local remand centre, as ordered by the courts. He had been serving a sentence over several weekends for violating public health orders and violating court orders. 

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“Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Kevin J Johnston for being unlawfully at large. The Calgary Police Service have made attempts to locate Johnston,” the CPS told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, “however, he is currently being sought for failing to show up at the Calgary Remand Centre as part of his intermittent sentence following a conviction for breaching several court orders for not complying with public health measures.”

Johnston also was required to appear at a courthouse in downtown Toronto at 10 am on Tuesday to begin serving an 18-month sentence after he was found to be in contempt of court for continuing to defame restaurateur and recent recipient of the Order of Canada, Mohamad Fakih. He was previously ordered to pay $2.5 million in damages after Johnson repeatedly called Fakih a “baby killer” and baselessly accused the owner of Paramount Fine Foods of having connections to terrorism. 

“A warrant for his arrest has been issued. He is a fugitive on the run,”  Fakih said in a written statement to CAHN. "Even now, he continues to disobey the court and hold himself above the law. I ask that anyone who has information about Johnston’s whereabouts please contact police immediately and do not approach or contact him directly. He was last known to reside in Calgary, however, he may have travelled to Ontario where he has an extensive network of friends and supporters that may be willing to harbour him.”

Johnston has stated numerous times on his live stream that he had no intention to pay the amount owed. 

“I have signed a Warrant of Committal in the foregoing terms. If Mr. Johnston does not surrender himself at the time and place stipulated, a warrant for his arrest will issue,” Justice Fred Myers wrote in his sentencing decision on the contempt charges.

On Monday evening, multiple anti-fascist activists began to point to messages by other members of the “patriot” movement who posted in a private encrypted chat room that Johnston had not appeared over the weekend. 

While Johnston does appear to be on the run from police, other since-deleted messages in the same chat claiming that he had left the country remain unsubstantiated but continue to circulate. 

“Kevin must do what is best for him and his family. The system is rigged against him,” wrote a member. “All our decisions must be made with the understanding the system is broken and corrupted.”

Johnston has had a series of run-ins with the law over the course of his activism. An abominable spreader of disinformation, distorted facts, and outright lies, the pandemic has seen his troubles compound in and outside of the courtroom.

Despite running for office in Calgary at the time, Johnston also found the time to instigate a confrontation with store employees in Dawson Creek, BC, after he was refused service for not wearing a mask. When the local store owner attempted to record his information, Johnston stuck his phone in the man’s face. When it was batted away, Johnston punched him in the face.

The entire event inside and outside of the grocery store was recorded from several angles by several individuals who accompanied him to the store. Despite claiming to place the store owner under a “citizen’s arrest,” when police arrived, Johnston was taken into custody and charged with assault.

Concerns about Johnston’s behaviour also led the City of Calgary to decline to create a voters list that would be distributed to candidates. Johnston has made repeated threats towards Alberta Health Service employees during his live streams, often categorizing them as criminals. The voters list would contain the name and address of every registered voter in the region.

“I’m coming after each and every one of you. This is something you need to consider. All of you are criminals. I don’t have any respect for anyone with Alberta Health Services,” he shouted on his now-deleted Twitch account. “I’m going to come after you with everything I’ve got. I’m going to come after you with full vitriol and full malice. You have never once come across a guy like me who cannot wait to see each and every one of you suffer the way you’ve made all of us in Alberta suffer.”

Often bragging about his legal prowess to his followers, Johnston has managed to lose every recent foray into the courtroom. He was recently sentenced to pay $20,000 in AHS’ legal fees and serve 40 days in jail over a series of weekends, for his repeated violations of public health orders and contempt of court.

This is after serving roughly seven weeks of jail time in the spring for threatening an AHS inspector.

In early September 2021, the embattled candidate also pleaded guilty to a hate crime in Ontario for his 2017 offer of $1,000 for video footage of Muslim children praying in public schools. Johnston also attempted to walk the guilty plea back during the Paramount Fine Foods trial, stating there “was no hate” in the video, and he only pleaded guilty because what he said could “possibly be construed by some as promoting hatred.”

This story is developing and will be updated accordingly.

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