Police Brutality

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  • Suspect tasered by Edmonton Police officer experienced collapsed lung

    Edmonton Police officers were dispatched on October 22, 2016 at approximately 8:33 p.m. to the area of Fox Drive and Fort Edmonton Park Road in response to a 911 call. A shirtless man attempted to flee from multiple officers and a helicopter, falling down an embankment before being captured with the use of a taser and police dog. One deceased individual was found in the area during the search, with the fleeing man being designated as suspect. Emergency medical services on the scene determined the man had a collapsed lung, for which he was taken to hospital. The victim in the incident, Connor James Miller, was later charged and convicted with manslaughter for the murder of his friend Christopher Fawcett in the river valley that evening. On a toxicology screen, he was found positive for LSD.
  • EPS officer on probation after assaulting a man and leaving him in the river valley

    On December 11, 2017, Const. Matthew O’Mara and his partner ordered Craig Jephtas-Crail to leave the Jasper Avenue and 104 Street 7-Eleven where he had been sleeping to stay warm. Once Jephtas-Crail was down on the sidewalk outside, O'Mara delivered two punches to his head, one of them was after he was already in handcuffs. After the arrest for trespassing and public intoxication, the two officers put Craig Jephtas-Crail into the police car, drove him to the river valley and left him there. The vehicle’s GPS system was switched off during the drive. In a victim impact statement, Jephtas-Crail said: “as a person with a disability and already facing barriers, it left me feeling as though I was worth next to nothing.” A report from a psychologist states that at the time of the arrest O’Mara was suffering from “florid PTSD symptoms” related to his military service in Afghanistan. Because of his prior experience, O'Mara was let into the EPS through the experienced officer training program, an accelerated, eight-week training course. Other officers typically undergo 27 weeks of training. He had no prior patrol experience before being assigned downtown. During the sentencing, his mental state was taken into account as the court was considering imprisonment. Provincial court Judge D’Arcy DePoe sentenced Const. Matthew O’Mara to 18 months probation for his assault of Craig Jephtas-Crail, stating that during the arrest officer O’Mara failed to follow at least seven EPS policies for dealing with injured arrestees, including assessing Jephtas-Crail for injuries, announcing the use of force over the radio and completing a written report about the arrest. O’Mara has been relieved from duty without pay and will be required to report to a probation officer, perform 100 hours of community service and attend counselling.
  • A video shot from a nearby building shows a man restrained facedown on the ground by two police officers, one who appears to have his knee on the man's neck. He is then forced to his feet and dragged to a nearby cruiser. Throughout the video the man cries out in pain and asks the officers to stop.

    Edmonton Police beat Indigenous man after being stopped because he had no bell on his bike

    On August 27, 2019, EPS Constable Curtis McCargar stopped Elliot McLeod -an Indigenous man- either giving no reason as to why (according to McLeod) or because he did not have a bell on his bicycle (according to McCargar). McLeod gave a false name to the officer and either immediately rode off or did so as McCargar entered the name in his cruiser’s computer. McCargar then pursued McLeod in his vehicle while radioing for assistance. After catching up, McCargar tackled McLeod and proceeded to punch him in the back of the head several times. By this point Constable Michael Partington had arrived by vehicle and immediately delivered a diving knee strike between McLeod's shoulder blades causing McLeod to scream in pain telling the officers to stop. At no point during this, according to McLeod, eyewitness testimony, and video evidence was he resisting. The two officers then handcuff McLeod and drag him into a police cruiser. McLeod was charged with four offences, including resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Police were sent a video of the incident filmed by a bystander, but withheld it from prosecutors for four months following the incident. When the video was disclosed, the charges against McLeod were stayed, and Constable Partington charged and convicted for assault. Cst. Partington was relieved from duty without pay on the day of the arrest, a decision which he appealed for judicial review by the Court of Queen's Bench. His application was dismissed by a judge in 2021.
  • A seated indigenous man in a blue sweatshirt holding up a photograph of himself, unconscious and bruised in hospital.

    Edmonton Police sued after officer allegedly kicks Indigenous youth in the head

    At about 4:15 a.m. officers responded to a trouble not known call at a home in the area of 62 Avenue and 178 Street with reports that a fight involving a weapon was taking place inside. During the search, police asked Pacey Dumas and his brother Blair, who is a year older, to step outside. Both complied. Blair was placed in handcuffs, while Pacey was ordered laid face down on the sidewalk with his hands out. “Suddenly and without warning (Todd; the officer) moved swiftly to Pacey and while in motion kicked Pacey in the right side of his head with such force Pacey was immediately rendered unconscious and bleeding,” After the alleged assault, Pacey was “dragged” by two unknown officers to a spot two houses away. It claims none of the officers who attended the scene gave Pacey medical attention.
  • Edmonton Police shoot and kill man

    Edmonton police were called at 11:05 pm on June 6, 2021 regarding a weapons complaint outside of a residence. A witness reported seeing standing across the street from his house on the Scott Robertson school grounds holding a knife and another reported seeing a man hide behind a tree on his neighbours property. Two police officers confronted a man on arrival and an officer fired a weapon striking and killing the man, according to the first witness, these gunshots occurred around 11:15pm. The victim was declared dead on the scene by first responders ASIRT was reported to be investigating, but there are no known updates.
  • EPS officer suspended without pay for releasing police dog on teenage girl

    An Edmonton police officer has been suspended without pay for allowing a police dog to bite a 16-year-old girl during a wrongful arrest. Const. Antonio Costa was given a 50-hour suspension and ordered to take remedial training for the May 2017 arrest, which left the youth with serious injuries to her arm. Costa was a member of the Edmonton police canine unit at the time of the arrest. According to a disciplinary decision released Wednesday, he was asked to assist with an early morning assault call on May 14, 2017, during which two men allegedly entered a house near 112 Avenue and 91 Street and sprayed bear spray at the occupants. The two men — who were described as wearing red hats and red running shoes — escaped on BMX bikes. Costa and his police dog arrived in the area and saw several people on bikes headed eastward. The disciplinary decision does not specify which dog Costa was partnered with that night, though the EPS website says he is the handler for PSD Amok, a Belgian Malinois. After spotting the cyclists, Costa saw a group on foot near 114 Avenue and 91 Street and pulled up beside them. Though the group did not have bicycles, Costa told them they were under “investigative detention.” After hearing this, the group scattered, and Costa released his police dog. The dog chased the 16-year-old girl — identified in the decision as “BB” — and bit her on the right forearm. She was taken to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, where she was treated for puncture wounds. Costa was initially charged with eight counts of misconduct under the Police Act, including neglect of duty and insubordination. He pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful or necessary use of authority. The defence and prosecution agreed to a 50-hour suspension without pay, which Costa will serve in five-hour increments. Fred Kamins, the retired RCMP superintendent who presided over the hearing, formally imposed the sentence last month. Costa must also undergo remedial training on arrest powers and investigative detention. Kamins said aggravating factors in the case include “the injury to Ms. BB and the seriousness of interfering with someone’s liberty,” while crediting Costa with pleading guilty and maintaining an otherwise “blemish free” record. The Edmonton Police Association declined to comment on the Costa case. (Text adapted from CBC News)
  • A CBC News report on the police whistleblower Derek Huff.

    String of disciplinary hearings, charges and lawsuits follow 2010 EPS beating of 29-year-old man

    In January of 2010, several police officers arrived at the home of Kazimierz Kozina's parents to search for drugs, as they suspected Kozina of drug trafficking. According to Kozina, several officers including Constable Redlick told him they wanted to "beat the shit" out of him. In February 2010, Constables Jack Redlick, Jason Kemp, Craig Offin and Phil Leeman arranged a 'buy and bust' from Kozina. After Kozina sold drugs to an undercover Leeman in the front seat of a Pontiac Sunfire, Redlick and Kemp approached the vehicle, Redlick with his gun drawn, and opened the passenger door and ordered Kozina out of the vehicle. They claim that Kozina pressed himself into the seat, and as Kemp reached into the car and grabbed Kozina's clothing, he began to flail his arms. Kemp punched him twice with "full speed and power", and Redlick threw three additional punches, two at Kozina's head, in what he claims was an attempt to get Kozina out of the car. CBC News summarized their testimony of the rest of the incident - ""The fight was on immediately outside the car as well," [Kemp] said. Redlick testified, "I shove him as hard as I can with both hands straight down to the ground. Then he tries to get back on his feet. "I yell at him again to stay down. I don't want to punch him in the back of the head because it will break my hand." Instead, Redlick hit Kozina on the back of the head with an open palm. Const. Offin [another undercover officer] also entered the fray. "This is happening fairly quickly," he had testified earlier. "You just rely on your training to do what is necessary." Offin was also charged, but the charge against him was dropped when he resigned from the police service. He testified Wednesday as a witness. Offin said he delivered two strikes to Kozina's back in an attempt to control him. Kemp said he "delivered five or six short kind of rabbit jabs to his mid-section." While Kozina continued to flail on the ground, more officers ran to assist. In the confusion, Kemp said an officer punched him in the back of the head, someone else grabbed his legs by mistake, and a third officer even jumped on his shoulders and drove his head into the ground. Kemp described it as a "melee," while Offin called it a "schmozz," with "a bunch of bodies and arms going everywhere." Kemp said, "I overheard Kazimierz yelling out, 'Why are you doing this?'" Kemp said he pleaded with the suspect to just "give me your hands and we will stop." Kozina was handcuffed and led to a police car. He had to be taken to hospital that night. He suffered a fractured orbital bone that ultimately required reconstructive surgery, plus cuts, bruises and a spinal injury." (CBC News, June 3, 2016). A witness, EPS officer Derek Huff, later estimated that between 15-20 punches were thrown once Kozina was handcuffed on the ground, and described Kozina's condition saying “His face was a great big giant black ball … of blood and bruising,” said Huff. “It looked like he had a gotten into a full head-on collision and smashed his head into a steering wheel.” (CBC News, Sept 27, 2013) Huff claimed that Kemp's injury, which Kemp blamed on Kozina and used as justification for his use of force, was a result of a mislaid punch from another officer. Kozina launched a formal complaint against the officers involved in 2010, which was dismissed by Chief Mike Boyd later that year. Kozina appealed to the Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB), which required the new Chief Rod Knecht to re-examine the allegations. Knecht sent the matter to a disciplinary hearing, which dismissed Police Act charges against the officers in July 2016. The presiding officer in that review, retired Court of Queen's Bench judge Mel Binder, described Constable Redlick in glowing terms - "Const. Redlick struck me as a solid, street-smart, hard-nosed but fair police officer, with basic common sense, who would tell it as it is and who would call a spade a spade" (CBC News, July 21, 2016), a statement that Kozina's lawyer Tom Engel noted was particularly problematic. In the same hearing, two other EPS officers (one of whom Kozina accused of participating in the assault) testified that they "didn't recall" seeing Huff at the scene of the incident, and claimed that Kozina was resisting the arrest, justifying Redlick and Kemp's actions. Kozina again appealed this decision to LERB, which upheld the it. As of 2021, he is seeking a judicial review of the decision. A separate ASIRT investigation concluded in 2014 with no charges against the officers. Kozina filed a lawsuit in September 2015 for $1 million in damages for physical and psychological injuries that affected his ability to work. Kozina's lawsuit alleged that police attempted to cover up the incident and failed to disclose brutality allegations that were made by a witness (a former EPS officer) to CBC in 2013. That officer, Derek Huff, told CBC that he repeatedly reported his concerns about the arrest and how it was characterized in the arresting officers' reports, resulting in mistreatment from his fellow officers for breaking the "code of silence" (Edmonton Journal, Sept 27, 2019). In June 2012 Huff went to the deputy chief and wrote a formal complaint, which was sent to ASIRT, triggering an investigation. The Edmonton Sun reported that the handling of the incident led to the transfer of several constables, a staff sergeant and a superintendent (Edmonton Sun, Sept 30, 2013). Huff resigned from the force in February 2013 and filed a lawsuit against the City of Edmonton and EPS, along with the current and former police chiefs and several officers and supervisors, claiming that following his whistleblowing on the incident he was harassed by other EPS staff to the point it affected his mental health and a diagnosis of PTSD; the lawsuit was dropped in November 2014. CBC News reported in 2016 that Huff was facing two criminal charges for uttering death threats against Redlick and Kemp in an email to another officer, but the Archive team has yet to locate information about the outcome of that case. Kozina pled guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance and obstruction of a peace officer on Oct. 25, 2011, but later submitted an appeal on the basis that Huff's information had not been disclosed. The Court of Appeal set aside his guilty plea and quashed his conviction on July 14, 2015.
  • Screengrab from the bystander video shows officers pushing a handcuffed Parkhurst towards a brick wall

    Suspect violently assaulted during arrest near Alberta Legislature

    A violent arrest caught on camera in 2019 led to an assault charge being laid against EPS officer Dylan Awid. Police officers gave chase to a truck they identified as stolen on the evening of June 11, 2019, with an EPS helicopter tracking the vehicle to an apartment building parking lot near the Alberta Legislature building. Police vehicles converged on the scene and boxed the truck in after it rammed vehicles to the rear and front in an attempt to escape. When the truck came to a halt, one officer exited the passenger side of the nearest police SUV and approached the car. As the driver, Kyle Parkhurst, opened the door and climbed out of the vehicle, the officer kicked the door against him, then struck him in the head with his gun. Parkhurst then fell to the ground, at which point he was kicked and punched multiple times; police also confirmed that he was Tasered twice during the arrest. One officer, later identified as Constable Dylan Awid, kicked Parkhurst multiple times before pulling him to his feet while handcuffed and slamming his head into a brick wall. He struck Parkhurst in the head with his elbow, then while walking him towards the police cruiser, violently shoved him up against it. Security camera footage of the incident shows officers appearing to re-enact the violence of the arrest after Parkhurst has been placed in custody. Experts interviewed by CBC about the footage indicated that an officer who appeared to deliberately walk away from the scene once the assault began appeared to be a sergeant; none of the many officers at the scene appear to attempt to intervene. Parkhurst's lawyer claims that after being taken into custody, his requests to see a doctor were denied and his injuries were never photographed, and asserts that his blood-soaked shirt was covered with a sweater when his mug shot photo was taken. EPS claims that Parkhurst was assessed by a parademic at the police station and his injuries were deemed minor. He stated that his mouth filled with blood for several hours after the incident, he suffered headaches and migranes several weeks after the incident, and had no memory of being thrown against the wall. He was not assessed by a doctor until two weeks later, when a lawyer acting for his grandmother filed a written complaint. In a subsequent legal filing Parkhurst stated he submitted dozens of written requests for medical treatment for severe headaches, numbness, and tingling in his legs and torso, as well as mental health issues, but was only seen by a doctor once. Some media reporting on the incident described it as "methamphetamine-fueled" but it is not clear when/whether Parkhurst was tested for substances. EPS appears to have been reluctant to provide information to the media following the incident. They announced their Professional Standards Branch would investigate after bystander videos of the incident were released online, but did not disclose to the media that they were also initiating a criminal investigation, which was discovered by CBC News when they spoke to the provincial director of law enforcement, Bill Sweeney, about why EPS was permitted to internally investigate an alleged assault on a prisoner. The day after CBC ran the July 9 story about the internal investigation, it was handed over to ASIRT (the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team). Reporters were later able to ascertain that Constable Awid had been removed from active duty sometime after the incident. In October 2021, ASIRT determined that Awid should be charged for the violence that occurred after Parkhurst was handcuffed, and on October 7, 2021 he was charged with one count of assault. The charge against Awid was stayed on November 8, 2021; the Edmonton Journal reported "a spokesperson for Alberta’s Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General told Postmedia that Alberta Crown Prosecution Service’s (ACPS) standard for prosecution is higher than that of the police, and that it’s possible for a case to meet one standard, but fail to meet a more onerous standard at higher levels of the justice system. “In this case, an ACPS prosecutor reviewed the investigation and surrounding circumstances and concluded that the charges did not meet our standard for prosecution,” the statement said" (Edmonton Journal, November 16, 2021). No reason was given by the ministry or the Crown for why this decision was made. Parkhurst was originally charged with nine offences, eventually reduced to four to which he pled guilty - possession of stolen property over $5,000; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; driving while disqualified; and breach of recognizance. In August 2021 Parkhurst filed a lawsuit against Awid and six other police officers including Police Chief Dale McFee, Alberta Health Services, and the Alberta government, for $100,000. The Archive team will update this incident as the lawsuit proceeds and more information about the dropped charges becomes available.
  • A screengrab from the bystander video of the incident, showing three police officers piled on top of another person sprawled on the floor of a convenience store.

    Two men injured by police in violent mistaken identity arrest at Circle K convenience store

    A complaint of police brutality and misconduct has been filed against city officers by a man who says his wrongful arrest felt more like a kidnapping. In a formal complaint to the Edmonton Police Service’s Professional Standards Branch, Jamie-Dean Sauter recounts being arrested in a Circle K at 116 Street and 104 Avenue on May 14 (2020) around 8:15 p.m. By Sauter’s account, he was approached by six EPS members, told he was under arrest for stealing a vehicle, and – as he was offering to show them his ID, license, registration and insurance – slammed to the ground. “I was still calm enough at the point, if I just present my driver’s license, my insurance, my registration, this will clearly be cleared up,” he remembers thinking. But on the ground, Sauter says he was punched, had the boot of one officer wiped across his face, effectively blindfolded by a covering over his face, and taken to a station whose location he would not learn until later. “It was one of the most dehumanizing, delegitimatizing things I’ve experienced because I felt it was done to let me know I’m dirt beneath your boot.” Sauter wrote to the EPS Professional Standards Branch on May 20, “This all to me did not appear to be an arrest but rather a kidnapping.” The 37-year-old says he manages several health conditions, and worried the confrontation would end in a heart attack or suffocation. “It was reckless, thoughtless, and degrading… How quickly they escalated to use violence was baffling and bewildering to me, especially given I was willing to cooperate, engage, and comply with the six officers,” his complaint reads. Sauter identifies as being of Black/Indigenous/Latin/European/East Asian descent. In the letter, he also writes he believes his ethnicity was a “determining factor in how this arrest was conducted” and recalls being mocked for his assumed sexuality. Twenty-four-year-old Joshua Powell was at the Circle K’s check-out counter when he says “about six cops bust through the door and just seemed to tackle this man without even asking for identification—anything, like any sort of explanation.” With his phone already in hand as he had waited to pay, Powell started recording. “I just had a gut feeling that, ‘Hey, something’s not right here and I should probably be recording this,” he recalled. At least three officers are seen in the video taking Sauter to the ground as Powell’s video starts. Sauter can be heard yelling, “Ow,” and asking, “What are you doing?” Powell tells Sauter, “If you stop moving, they won’t hurt you,” and moves to find a better camera angle – but as he does, an officer appears to attempt to block his view. “I couldn’t really capture it on film due to the way officers were blocking my footage,” he told CTV News Edmonton. On camera, he tells the police, “That was a bit excessive from an outside perspective.” Powell ended up being arrested for obstruction of justice. In the video, as his camera is shaken around, he’s heard saying: “I’m just filming. What are you doing to me?” “This guy’s trying to get my phone. I gotta save this video and lock my phone,” he recalled thinking. Minutes later, he says he was he was carried out, also hooded, and put in a police vehicle in front of his clueless girlfriend. “We had no power. I was called a little b*tch. I was called a f*ggot. They wouldn’t let me speak to my girlfriend to tell her what was going on.” Both men allege the treatment continued at the downtown EPS station, where the men were held in custody. “I just know from movies and stuff, you get a phone call, right?” Powell asked, saying he wasn’t afforded one. Sauter said he was allowed to make calls to his brother, who is a detective with EPS, and Legal Aid. However, he says he received no medical attention for the bruising, cuts, swelling or shock he was experiencing. He experienced pain for days afterward, and still has neck and back issues, he told CTV News Edmonton. The 24-year-old witness also says he sustained abrasions on his wrists from too-tight handcuffs, forehead and facial bruising, and a cut on his shin from the ordeal. Both were released around 12:30 a.m. By then, officers had verified Sauter’s insurance and ownership of the vehicle, whose plate, police discovered, had been replaced with a stolen one. As he left, Sauter says he was told he needed “to learn how to conduct yourself around officers." Sauter was never charged. The charge against Powell was stayed July 8. Both men have filed official complaints and obtained lawyers, but none of their accusations have been tested or proven in court. EPS confirmed two Professional Standards Branch investigations are open, related to the complaints filed by Sauter and Powell. Spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout said there are eight officers who are subject to the investigations. “At this time, it is too early to determine any changes to the duty status of the officers. As per standard procedure, duty status is evaluated on an ongoing basis as the investigation unfolds,” she wrote to media. The response has left Sauter unsatisfied, and he reiterated a sentiment he first expressed in the letter to the Professional Standards Branch, Edmonton Police Commission, and Chief Dale McFee: “I don’t feel safe with them out.” Sauter repeatedly told CTV News Edmonton his experiences with police had previously been positive, but after his own “traumatizing” arrest and hearing Minneapolis man George Floyd uttered the same words he did beneath the knee of a policeman — “I can’t breathe” — also said he’s come to believe law enforcement need to be held more accountable. Widespread use of body cams, he said, could help others in the same way a stranger helped him. “Had this video not been available, it would’ve left my credibility tarnished… I would have to be up against six to seven officers, and I would have no actual proof of what occurred,” Sauter told CTV News Edmonton, speaking of Powell’s short clip in the Circle K. “He’s my hero. He’s incredibly brave. He has incredible integrity and moral character. He’s not a coward. His intuition was correct and he did the right thing.” (Text from CTV News article, July 9, 2020) Both Sauter and Powell are represented by lawyers. In his complaint to the Professional Standards Branch, Sauter stated "This all to me did not appear to be an arrest but rather a kidnapping.” He believes he sustained injuries that caused a curve in his spine, along with ongoing pain, migranes, and possible PTSD. The Archive team is seeking the results of the Professional Standards Branch investigations and will update this entry when more information is available.