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Decision reserved in LPS officer disciplinary hearing over ‘Meme Militia’ group chat

Click to play video: 'Decision reserved in LPS officer’s disciplinary hearing over ‘Meme Militia’'
Decision reserved in LPS officer’s disciplinary hearing over ‘Meme Militia’
Sanctioning arguments were heard at a hearing for a Lethbridge police officer who pleaded guilty to misconduct last year. As Erik Bay reports, an argument was made for his dismissal from the police service – Oct 14, 2022

A police officer behind the creation of offensive memes could be dismissed from the Lethbridge Police Service.

In July 2018, Sgt. Jason Moulton created a private group chat called the “Meme Militia” on WhatsApp, where he and fellow officers shared offensive texts and memes targeting LPS executives, other officers and society in general.

Presenting officer Kelly Nicholson submitted in sanctioning arguments during a disciplinary hearing Friday that the appropriate penalty for Moulton’s misconduct is dismissal.

Last year, Moulton pled guilty to five counts of misconduct, including discreditable conduct and neglect of duty.

“This was willful, premeditated and designed to avoid accountability,” Nicholson said about Moulton’s actions. “The proper analogy is rats nibbling away at the building.”

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Nicholson also pointed to Moulton’s ranking as a senior officer and what he called a lack of remorse as additional factors for requesting dismissal.

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Defense lawyer Bill Newton countered by submitting Moulton’s rank should be permanently reduced from Sgt. to Cst. 1st Class, along with any additional sanctions presiding officer Paul Manuel sees fit.

Click to play video: 'Officers plead guilty in Lethbridge police misconduct hearing involving memes'
Officers plead guilty in Lethbridge police misconduct hearing involving memes

That includes suspension without pay and forfeiture of vacation and banked overtime hours.

Newton addressed Moulton’s 24-year-long career with the Lethbridge police in his arguments, saying “up until the date of this occurrence, we are looking at an exemplary career.”

After hearing arguments from both sides, the presiding officer reserved his decision and adjourned proceedings until Nov. 14.

The matter of four other officers charged in relation to the “meme militia” have already been resolved.

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Cst. Keon Woronuk and Cst. Derek Riddel resigned from the Lethbridge Police Service, while Cst. David Easter and Cst. Matthew Rilkoff were demoted.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Police Service misconduct hearing into 5 officers involves memes'
Lethbridge Police Service misconduct hearing into 5 officers involves memes

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