Man charged with uttering threats after comments targeting women and Winnipeg police

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Justin Peter Bodnarchuk, 39, was arrested Monday after social media posts expressed contempt toward women, feminists and police, the Winnipeg Police Service said. One post also included a threat to kill a specific person, according to police. (Aspect Fitness/Instagram - image credit)
Justin Peter Bodnarchuk, 39, was arrested Monday after social media posts expressed contempt toward women, feminists and police, the Winnipeg Police Service said. One post also included a threat to kill a specific person, according to police. (Aspect Fitness/Instagram - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

Police have arrested a Winnipeg man they say posted comments online that expressed contempt toward women and threatened to kill someone.

Justin Peter Bodnarchuk, 39, was arrested on Monday following numerous reports of threatening social media posts, the Winnipeg Police Service said in a Tuesday news release.

The posts expressed contempt toward women, feminists and the Winnipeg police, the release said.

One post also included a threat to kill a specific person, police said.

Bodnarchuk was charged with three counts of uttering threats to kill or cause bodily harm.

He was detained in custody.

A LinkedIn account associated with Bodnarchuk says he is a kinesiologist and personal trainer at Aspect Fitness in Winnipeg. He appears in multiple videos on the Aspect Fitness Instagram account promoting himself and his fitness tips.

'Definitely crossed a threshold'

Winnipeg police Const. Dani McKinnon would not confirm whether Bodnarchuk has previously been charged or convicted for other offences.

She also would not provide any specifics about what was said in the posts in question.

McKinnon did say the comments allegedly made by Bodnarchuk were posted on a popular social media platform, and that there were dozens of reports filed with the police about them.

Police are often called about potential threats, said McKinnon. Investigators consider whether threats are ambiguous or veiled, versus those with "real credibility" that may warrant an arrest, she said.

That can come down to wording.

"Words like 'kill' … 'to kill' or ways of harming a person, or other words that generally would alarm or put fear in a reasonable person, that is valued in the investigation," said McKinnon.

"The language that was used in these posts definitely crossed a threshold of just being a veiled — maybe considered inappropriate — comment, and it was considered a Criminal Code offence."

She encourages people who come across threatening comments online, or those with inappropriate images or hateful language targeting an individual or group, to report them through the social media platform, and consider contacting local law enforcement.

Past protection order

Court records show a man named Justin Bodnarchuk was ordered to stay away from a former domestic partner in August 2019 after she told court officials he had been physically violent toward her on multiple occasions, including once when he allegedly put his hands around her neck in front of her kids.

In her application, the woman wrote that she had been in an on again, off again relationship with that Bodnarchuk for several years but that he started becoming violent in September 2018.

She said, at one point, he kicked in the front door of her house and, another time, he told her he had "visions of smashing my face with a kettlebell in my sleep."

The woman said she was applying for the protection order because she was afraid for her safety and that he might also harm her children.

"My children need to be protected as I feel he will go to all costs to cause me pain, and he knows that causing harm to them will hurt the most," the woman wrote.

A judicial justice of the peace ordered him to stay at least 200 metres away from the woman and her children, and to not have any contact with them. The order is valid until August 2022. It is not clear if it refers to the same man who was arrested on Monday.

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