Three Calgary Police Service (CPS) officers have been charged with criminal offences following an investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) into their conduct during and after a traffic stop involving a motorist in July 2016.
In the early morning of July 31, 2016, the Calgary Police Service reported as required to the Acting Director of Law Enforcement (A/DLE) an incident under s. 46.1 of the Police Act that a serious injury had been suffered by a man during the course of his arrest on the evening of July 30, 2016.
Based on the information available at that time, CPS was directed to maintain conduct of the matter. During the course of their review of the incident, investigators viewed CPS In-Car Digital Video (ICDV) that raised concerns about the accuracy of the circumstances as initially reported. As such, on August 23, 2016, CPS again contacted the A/DLE with additional information that resulted in a direction that the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team assume conduct of the investigation.
ASIRT conducted a thorough and independent investigation into this incident. ASIRT Executive Director Ms. Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the completed investigation and upon reviewing it, after consultation with members of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS), determined there are reasonable grounds to believe that offences were committed by serving police officers.
As a result, earlier today, three members of the Calgary Police Service were arrested and charged with Criminal Code offences in relation to the events of July 30, 2016:
- Const. James Othen, a nine-year member, has been charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm, one count of assault with a weapon and two counts of public mischief.
- Const. Kevin Humfrey, a two-year member, has been charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm and two counts of public mischief.
- Const. Michael Sandalack, a nine-year member, has been charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm.
The charges arise following the incident on July 30, 2016, shortly after 8:50 p.m., when a 34-year-old man, Clayton Prince, fled on foot after a vehicle stop and was located in the area of the 6700 block of Macleod Trail by CPS members. After Mr. Prince had surrendered to police and was lying prone on the ground on his stomach, with his hands behind his head, it is alleged that the named officers committed an assault upon Mr. Prince, both before and after he was handcuffed. Mr. Prince sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a facial laceration and significant bruising. Once Mr. Prince was placed, handcuffed, in the back of a marked police vehicle, it is alleged that Const. Othen reached into the vehicle and dug the point of a key into Mr. Prince’s neck behind his left ear, an area known to be vulnerable to pain compliance techniques, resulting in an injury that became infected and required additional treatment.
At the time, Clayton Prince was charged with one count of resisting Const. Othen in the lawful execution of his duty, in addition to one count of possession of a small amount of marijuana. On August 29, 2016, the Crown directed a stay of proceedings with respect to those charges.
Based on the evidence, Const. Othen and Const. Humfrey have been charged with two counts of public mischief alleging that they made false statements and reported that Clayton Prince had committed the offence of resisting an officer, Const. Othen, in the lawful execution of his duty, when the offence had not been committed.
All three officers have been brought before a justice of the peace and released on their own recognizance with conditions.
Clayton Prince had not reported his alleged assault at the hands of police nor made any complaint at the time that these matters came to ASIRT’s attention. He had photographed his injuries and, when contacted, cooperated fully with the investigation, providing a detailed and compelling statement.
These alleged offences only came to light as a result of the diligence of members of CPS who, in the course of a review of the incident, came upon video evidence that potentially gave rise to significant and disturbing conduct, as well as inconsistencies with the earlier provided information, and reported it to their supervisors. Following a further notification to the A/DLE, ASIRT was directed to assume conduct of the investigation. This is important, as it should be remembered that the actions of the officers charged in this case should not reflect on the many good men and women within the CPS, and all the police services in this province, who go to work every day in good faith to serve and protect the people of this province.
As the matter is now before the courts, ASIRT will not be releasing any additional information from this point forward.