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Video of First Nations woman restrained by hotel staff sparks outrage

January 22, 2024

Christmas Day video shows woman with her hands tied behind her back.

Marlborough Hotel

The Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg was flooded with angry protesters on Sunday after a video surfaced of a First Nations woman whose hands were tied behind her back.

APTN News: The incident occurred on Christmas Day at the hotel which is located downtown.

The video shows staff at the hotel zip-tying and restraining the girl. She can be heard sobbing.

The Marlborough is one of many hotels in Winnipeg used by the federal and provincial government to house band members from remote First Nations who are in Winnipeg for medical appointments.

Cathy Merrick, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chief, said the organization has ended its business relationship with the Marlborough. “We will make sure that they know about the culture of our people that are put here,” said Merrick on Sunday’s rally. “They are no longer going to disrespect our people that are put here.”

Garrison Settee, grand chief of the South Chiefs Organization in Manitoba, called the girl’s treatment “inhumane.” “We’re not going to rest until we know for a fact that everything that has happened to her that she has justice, that she has the dignity and respect to be treated as a human being,” he said. “We can no longer allow our people to treated and disrespected like this.”

According to a statement issued by the hotel, “An intoxicated female began brandishing a knife in our hotel lobby and threatening our guests and staff,” the statement said. “Winnipeg police (WPS) were immediately called and advised us to protect our guests and staff which we did using wrist restraints on this individual.

“Our only intention was to prevent this young woman from harming herself or others.”

In an email to APTN News, Winnipeg Police said officers were called to the hotel to help remove a female loitering on the premises at 10:30 in the morning but police couldn’t attend at the time. By 1 p.m., the police still hadn’t arrived.

“When again asked to leave by staff, the female pulled out a knife, attempting to stab a staff member,” the police email said. “Staff members disarmed the female suspect, placed her in restraints and prevent her from leaving until police members arrived.

The statement doesn’t explain why police were unable to attend to the original call, but said: “as the staff reasonably believed a criminal offence had taken place as they were the victim of an assault that had just occurred, the use of restraints is justified.”

Marlborough Hotel
People outside the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN.

The woman was taken into custody and charged with assault with a weapon.

Within the comments of the video a woman wrote, “To the people asking if that’s me in that video… yes it is.”  The comment goes on to say that staff tried to remove her while she was “passed out” in the restaurant waiting for her brother.

Some people from the rally took to the basement of the Marlborough. The group broke through locked doors and found a bar that had appeared to be abandoned, storage rooms and a locker full of women’s clothing, shoes and purses.

In a social media post late Monday afternoon, Winnipeg police said, “There are serious allegations being made and we commit to investigating them. We are committed to sharing factual and accurate information as the investigation progresses.

“As a father, just to see the image of a young girl being hog tied is disturbing,” said Christopher Reid, who joined the protest. Another added, “People that come to the city for care should know that they’re going to be safe here and every single Canadian should stand up and say this is not okay,” said Nathalie Kleinschit.


Tamara Pimentel,