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Crime

Calgary Police Association president calls on ASIRT to release names of suspects shot by officers

WATCH: Alberta's police watchdog won't publicly identify a man shot and killed in Calgary on Tuesday, and the head of the police union calls that decision ludicrous. Tony Tighe reports.

The president of Calgary’s police association is once again demanding the Alberta Serious Response Team (ASIRT) release the names of “the criminals responsible for the attempted murders” of Calgary Police Service (CPS) members in recent weeks.

“ASIRT has taken the position to protect the identity of these individuals and their families because they are victims of homicide,” Les Kaminski said in a Thursday news conference. “That is ludicrous.

“Make no mistake, these are not victims. They are dangerous, violent offenders… they are dead because of the actions they took, not because they are innocent victims.”

Kaminski’s comments come after an incident on April 9, during which an officer in plain clothes shot and killed a man who reportedly tried to rob him at knifepoint in the community of Bridgeland. The officer was working undercover as part of a covert surveillance unit when he was approached, sources told Global News.

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READ MORE: Man shot by Calgary police in Bridgeland tried to rob undercover officer at knifepoint: sources

According to the ASIRT website, the names of “affected persons” — someone who is either seriously injured or has died as a result of police actions — are not released to the public as a matter of policy.

ASIRT confirmed Thursday it would not be releasing the name of the 26-year-old Calgary man involved in the Bridgeland incident to the public.

“There is no law or legislation compelling them to withhold this information,” Kaminski said. “We, the association, would like some answers on behalf of the 2,200 police officers and the citizens of the city.”

WATCH: The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) continues to investigate an officer-involved shooting in northeast Calgary. Doug Vaessen has the details.

ASIRT investigates officer-involved shooting in Calgary’s Bridgeland neighbourhood
ASIRT investigates officer-involved shooting in Calgary’s Bridgeland neighbourhood

Const. Jordan Forget was shot while responding to a call about a suspicious male in Abbeydale on March 27.

Kaminski said the gunman in that incident went on a “violent crime spree,” which included the robbery of a convenience store and an attempted armed carjacking and break-in. Police said the suspect then shot at police before confining himself in a neighbourhood garage which was later engulfed in flames. The man’s body was found inside the garage after the fire was put out.

READ MORE: ASIRT will not release name of man killed after shooting Calgary police officer

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Kaminski said the officers involved in these incidents are struggling with many unanswered questions.

“This is a plea,” he said. “I want people to understand that this isn’t for any other reason than for the people to heal and for the citizens of the community. They need answers.”

Kaminski said he has spoken to 30 witness officers involved in the Abbeydale shooting, all of whom said they need closure.

“One of the officers said, ‘I need to know if I killed this man. I need to know who was trying to kill me,'” Kaminski said. “Those were his exact words to me.

“Our members’ well-being is a priority. Their mental health is at stake.”

WATCH: New measures being brought in to protect Calgary police

New measures being brought in to protect Calgary police
New measures being brought in to protect Calgary police

He went on to argue releasing the names, as well as more information on the incidents, is a matter of public interest.

“These events point to the likelihood that these criminals were prolific offenders,” Kaminski said. “If their identities are released, perhaps more citizens will come forward with important information, resulting in a much clearer picture and understanding of either perpetrator.”

READ MORE: Calgary Police Service getting new armour to protect against gunfire

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CPS Chief Roger Chaffin said in a Thursday statement that the service has provided all of the information it can, as ASIRT is now conducting the investigations into both officer-involved shootings.

“It would not be appropriate for CPS to interfere with this independent process and release information that forms part of their investigation,” Chaffin said.

He added CPS doesn’t release the names of suspects who have been shot and killed. A suspect’s name would only be released by CPS if the person survives and is charged with a related offence.

Kaminski said he’s tried unsuccessfully to have open communication with ASIRT and hopes his plea will show the severity of the situation.

“If either of these criminals had survived, they would be facing numerous serious criminal charges and their identity would have been demolished, no questions asked.

“They [ASIRT and the CPS] preach that they work to provide transparency to the citizens regarding the police. Where is the transparency now? Where is the accountability?”