Calgary police should have handled Arkinstall matter differently: inquiry report

Calgary police should have handled Arkinstall matter differently: inquiry report
WATCH: A report on the 2008 Jason Arkinstall arrest and investigation by the Law Enforcement Review Board found the Calgary police probe had "significant shortcomings." Blake Lough reports.

A provincial review board found the Calgary Police Service (CPS)’s handling of the 2008 Jason Arkinstall arrest and subsequent investigations had “significant shortcomings.”

The report from the Law Enforcement Review Board included 20 recommendations, nine of which were aimed at CPS and the balance addressing improvements to the Police Act and police discipline framework within Alberta.

The board found that the CPS didn’t conduct careful investigation of serious concerns the court expressed in two officers’ use of excessive force, used a poorly-constructed “administrative review” process that wasn’t founded on sound legislation, and that key steps and decisions were poorly documented or not documented at all.

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“A proper investigation may or may not have resulted in disciplinary proceedings for any police officers, but we conclude without hesitation that CPS’ failure to properly and fully investigate the Arkinstall matter fell far short of what the public has every right to expect in such a case,” the report reads.

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The report also said the board found “no evidence of deliberate attempts within CPS to avoid, impede, frustrate or interfere with the ordinary course of the disciplinary process under the [Police] Act.”

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In a statement, CPS said: “We clearly fell short of the public’s expectations of us with how we investigated and addressed our members’ conduct in this case.

“This was a failure of the service as a whole, and for that, we are sorry.”

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Calgary police also state they have taken steps to improve the policies and procedures that precipitated the botched investigation into the Arkinstall arrest, including increased accuracy in note-taking and chain of command, improved notification of the minister of justice in cases of “serious incidents and complaints” and the investigations of serious incidents.

The CPS also said it made those investigations easier for the public to understand.

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A charge was laid against Const. Brant Derrick following the Aug. 2008 traffic stop related to the use-of-force arrest of Arkinstall. Derrick was found not guilty late last year.

Assault and perjury charges were also laid against Les Kaminski, the current president of the Calgary Police Association. Those charges were dropped last year.

In a statement sent to Global News, Kaminski said “the LERB inquiry has now confirmed what we knew all along, that no one in CPS avoided, impeded, frustrated or interfered with the ordinary course of disciplinary process.”

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“This certainly begs the question then, to whom and for what is the current executive at CPS apologizing?” the statement went on to say. “It cannot be lost that the motivation for the complaint was for an organized crime group to defame the police. Is the CPS apologizing to them?”