Ottawa police officer charged with sexual assault after alleged off-duty incident

An Ottawa police vehicle. Beatrice Britneff / Global News File

The Ottawa Police Service says it has charged one of its own officers with sexual assault and forcible confinement in connection to an alleged incident that occurred mid-April when the constable was off duty.

Const. Sharmarke Ali was arrested and charged Friday morning by investigators in the police force’s sexual assault and child abuse unit, a news release from Ottawa police said.

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Ali has been suspended from duty and is scheduled to appear in court on June 6, 2019, according to the statement. In the meantime, he has been released from custody with conditions.

The charges come after an 18-year-old woman reported to police that she was approached by a man she didn’t know on Rideau Street at approximately 3 a.m. on April 13, according to police.

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The Ottawa Police Service said it reported its investigation into the alleged incident to the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), an independent watchdog that investigates incidents involving police service members “that have resulted in death, serious injuries or allegations of sexual assault.”

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The SIU decided to leave the investigation with the local police force, the statement from Ottawa police said.

The police service’s professional standards unit has also launched an internal investigation into the matter.

The statement said the Ottawa Police Service won’t comment further on the case “as the matter is before the courts.”

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