Gian-Carlo Carra, the Calgary city councillor currently under police investigation following an alleged road rage incident, has released a statement explaining his side of the story.
According to Carra, the incident was the result of a driver running through a stop sign while he was in a crosswalk, nearly striking his dog, Izzy.
“I had to pull Izzy out from under the wheels by her leash,” Carra explained in a statement. “They were so close I was able to tap the bumper with my foot as they sped by.”
Carra, who is in his third term representing Ward 9, said the driver reversed and the two people in the vehicle “began verbally accosting” him.
“The driver admitted that he did not see me but became increasingly verbally irate, and as I stood my ground, escalated to physically assaulting me,” Carra said. “I defended myself from the assault as best as I could in the moment.”
Carra’s statement said the incident took place on April 2, and that a Calgary police officer responded to the scene and took statements from all three people involved.
The Ward 9 councillor said he was notified that an investigation was underway, but was “unaware of any progress” until reports on the incident surfaced on Monday.
Calgary police confirmed they were made aware of the incident, but forwarded the investigation to the Edmonton Police Service “in the interest of transparency and best practices.”
Edmonton police confirmed to Global News on Monday that they had received the referral but said no further information could be shared.
Carra voluntarily stepped back from his role on the Calgary Police Commission after revelations of the incident.
“I support measures that maintain impartiality — for my protection and the driver and passenger involved,” Carra said. “I believe it’s completely appropriate that I recuse myself from commission until this matter is resolved.”
According to the Calgary Police Commission, Carra’s position on the commission will be held for him but he won’t be permitted to participate in any meetings or have access to confidential information until there is a resolution to the situation.
Carra said he has been an advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety long before he was elected to city council, but did not apologize for his actions during the incident.
“While I am saddened by the way I have been personally impacted by a driver’s anger and disregard for pedestrian safety, this incident has only reaffirmed my strong prioritization of safe streets across our communities,” Carra’s statement said.
Mayor and council weigh in
On Monday, Calgary’s mayor said she shouldn’t comment on an active investigation.
“I’m very hesitant to make any comment at all,” Jyoti Gondek told reporters. “I’m sure we will have more discussion about this over the next few days.”
City council appoints two representatives to the police commission, which can be councillors or members of city administration.
Carra’s decision to step back from the role leaves one of those seats vacant, but Gondek said no decisions have been made on potentially replacing the Ward 9 representative on the citizen oversight board.
“We have a strong commission who is doing some very heavy work right now. Should it be noted by commission that we need to replace the position, we will certainly do that,” Gondek said. “That’s not up to me to decide independently: I look forward to hearing from members of commission as well as council.”
Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot said Carra made the “appropriate” decision to step aside from his duties on police commission, but he feels Carra shouldn’t step down from city council.
“I think Coun. Carra, like any member of council being accused of anything, is innocent until proven guilty,” Chabot said. “I think it’s appropriate he step aside from police commission, but not from his duties as councillor.”
However, Chabot said he believes city council should have two “active” members on police commission.
Carra was first elected to city council in 2010, and was re-elected to a third term in the 2021 municipal election with a narrow victory of just 161 votes.
He was appointed to the Calgary Police Commission last fall as part of his duties as a city councillor.