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Alberta Police Watchdog says an RCMP officer convicted of using excessive force against a prisoner in custody in 2011 committed an assault in 2018 when he slapped a handcuffed man in the face, however no charges will be filed.


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On July 11, 2018, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was ordered to investigate the case as of June 9, 2018, which involved an RCMP officer and a handcuffed man who was detained at the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment.

In a press release on Friday, ASIRT said “witness officer # 1” arrested and handcuffed the 30-year-old at 2:13 am. Due to the state of agitation and intoxication of the man, the first officer required the help of other officers, the “witness officer # 2” and the “subject officer” who was acting as watch commander at the time.

The three officers escorted the man, who was handcuffed behind his back, to the guard desk, where a civil guard was in the cell.

According to witnesses, the man was drunk, unbalanced and belligerent and had been exchanging shouts and insults with the subject officer since his arrival.


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“While at the desk, the witness officers were on either side of the affected person,” the statement said.

“The affected person was in front of the subject officer when something happened, and the subject officer struck the affected person once with the front of his open right hand. The slap was not too strong and did not cause injuries. The witness officers interceded in some way and the officer in question left the area. “

Accounts of what led up to the slap vary slightly. According to the first officer, the handcuffed man was leaning against the wall, then leaned toward the subject officer and the officer struck the man.

The second officer says the man took a couple of steps toward the subject officer and then the subject officer hit him.

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The subject officer, meanwhile, said the man moved quickly toward him, taking four or five steps between the other two officers. The man was screaming and spitting due to his screams.

TThe subject officer told him to turn around as he was spitting at him. The victim approached him and then hit him to turn his head away, ”the statement said.

ASIRT also noted that the officer in question had received three previous complaints of assault against him related to the use of force against prisoners in custody, one of which resulted in a conviction in 2011.

While it is not disputed that a slap occurred, ASIRT said the question revolves around whether the slap “falls within the protections provided by the Penal Code for police actions or for the defense of the person.”


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Upon completion of the investigation, ASIRT found that there was clear evidence that a crime of assault was committed.

The investigation was sent to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, which found that the evidence did not meet the standard for prosecution. ASIRT was informed that “the test to proceed with an accusation is not met” and that “there is no reasonable probability of conviction.”

ASIRT noted that while the man’s spitting did not appear to be deliberate, the subject officer could have taken steps not to spit on him. The officer in question could have moved out of range of the saliva, taking a few steps back or walking completely away.

“His presence was not achieving any legitimate law enforcement objective. In fact, if anything, their behavior was interfering with the task of getting the person to stay properly in the cells, ”ASIRT said.


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“When the officer in question left the area, after the witnessing officers asked him to leave after the slap, he was completely effective in ending the situation.”

Officers could also have used a spit mask or a sock as a barrier to saliva, ASIRT said, or if the officer in question had “started acting professionally or walked away from the situation earlier, the situation probably would have de-escalated.” .

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ASIRT also noted that a slap is not helpful in preventing spitting.

“It would be difficult to characterize it as a control tactic and, furthermore, there is an almost degrading element to its use by an officer on a handcuffed prisoner,” the statement said. “It certainly won’t stop someone from screaming or stop the saliva coming out of the affected person’s mouth.”

ASIRT found that the force used was “more than reasonably necessary, if necessary.”

“Had the Crown found that the evidence met its standard for prosecution, the officer would have been charged.”

ASIRT’s report and concerns will be provided to the RCMP for consideration of “alternative methods of liability for the conduct in question.”



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