Edmonton police close investigation into assault accusation against city councillor
Edmonton police have ended an investigation into an altercation between City Coun. Dave Loken and a candidate looking to replace him on council.
Police said they’ve closed the file and no charges will be laid after allegations brought forward by Ward 3 candidate Sarmad Rasheed that Loken had assaulted him and made him feel unsafe during an encounter last week.
“As I knew all along, [police] have concluded that the accusations against me were baseless,” Loken said in a statement Friday. “I have great respect for our police service and I knew that if I trusted the process, I would be absolved. The positive responses I have received from citizens and constituents kept me positive and reminded me why I chose public service. To them, I say thank you!
“I look forward to continuing my campaign and hearing from Edmontonians about what issues really matter.”
A spokesperson for Rasheed’s campaign said Friday they didn’t want to comment, only saying they “want to move forward” and “get on with the campaign and do what’s best for the citizens of Ward 3.”
Last Saturday, Rasheed and his campaign organizer were standing outside their election booth, talking to Ward 3 residents at a youth day event in Castle Downs Park.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Loken arrived at the event to give a proclamation on youth day and approached Rasheed’s booth.
Rasheed said he initially tried to shake Loken’s hand, but Loken came up to him in a threatening manner, told him he shouldn’t be at the event and that he needed to pack up and leave.
He said Loken pointed his finger at him and got right up close to his face and poked him in the glasses. Rasheed filed a police report alleging the councillor assaulted him and made him feel unsafe. He said this is not the first time he has had a problem with Loken.
In a statement, Loken said he approached Rasheed because he felt having a campaign booth on public property violated election rules.
“He became very agitated and told me that he did not have to take orders from me. I agreed with him and said that was true but that he had to follow the rules. I was pointing my finger at him to make this point and he told me to stop pointing and I did, but then Rasheed made a swiping motion at my finger but did not make contact. I also told him to stop making defaming statements about me in the community,” the statement reads.
Loken went on: “I did not make any physical contact with him, nor did I threaten him, at any time – either verbally or physically. I was at a safe distance away from him at all times so as to not invade his personal space.”
The councillor said he provided a statement to police and cooperated with their investigation.
One Ward 3 resident who witnessed the altercation, but did not want to be named, said Loken was unfriendly and aggressive, but did not touch Rasheed.
Rasheed’s campaign organizer, Ben West, also said there was no physical assault.
More to come…
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