Regina police officers conduct under scrutiny after portions of public complaint justified
EDITOR’S NOTE: The initial version of this story implied the incident was racially motivated, however the Public Complaints Commission’s report did not rule one way or the other on the officer’s motivation.
REGINA – The conduct of Regina police offers came under scrutiny Thursday after the findings of a complaint to the Public Complaints Commission were released.
The complaint was issued by Simon Ash-Moccasin of Regina, who alleged that officers used excessive force and that he was racially profiled in an incident on Dec. 10, 2014.
“There was a mistake made by our members,” admitted Regina Police Chief Troy Hagen, who said he has apologized to Ash-Moccasin.
In his complaint to the PCC, Ash-Moccasin said that he was walking home in downtown Regina when police stopped him, saying he fit the description of a robbery suspect.
Knowing his rights, Ash-Moccasin refused to give his name, believing he was being racially profiled. He says police responded with force, throwing him against a wall and arresting him using excessive force, all while not reading out his rights.
While police ultimately released Ash-Moccasin, he did end up filing a complaint with the Public Complaints Commission later that month. The Commission is an independent body that investigates complaints regarding police conduct.
After a year of inquiries, they found that Ash-Moccasin was right and that the two police officers in question took things too far.
“His complaints in our language was substantiated, which means that the police exceeded their authority when they detained and handcuffed him,” said Brent Cotter, the Chair of the Commission.
However the commission only ruled on the officer’s conduct, not their motivation.
“While we appreciate Mr. Ash-moccasin’s understanding of the circumstances, and the marginal basis of his identification in this case was problematic, we’re not in the business of declaring something being racially motivated or not,” Cotter said.
Chief Hagen insists Ash-Moccasin wasn’t racially profiled, but admits that officers made an error in judgement during a ‘fluid’ investigation.
Regina Police officers undergo yearly recertification training and the force confirms this year, every officer will participate in a diversity component focused on First Nations people.Follow @BrandonGonez