No Charges in Calgary Police Use of Force

On Aug. 4, 2015, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate the use of force by a Calgary Police Service officer that resulted in injuries to a 20-year-old Calgary man.

On July 23, 2015 at approximately 2:56 a.m., CPS officers responded to a disturbance at a residence in Calgary. Upon arrival, officers observed two men struggling with the 20-year-old. One of the two men stated they were attempting to remove the 20-year-old man from the home because he was intoxicated and violent. The 20-year-old was placed in the back seat of the police vehicle, hands cuffed behind his back while police obtained further information.

As the officers gathered information, the man became increasingly agitated, yelling and demanding to know what was happening. The officer in question opened the rear door of the police vehicle and noted the man had moved his cuffed hands to the front of his body. The officer told the man to exit the vehicle and attempted to pull him out by the arms. The man responded by putting his feet up against the open vehicle door to resist removal. The officer then punched the man once on the right side of the face. Once removed from the vehicle, the man was furious and yelled incessantly.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel were called to the scene but the man remained uncooperative and refused medical treatment, although he allowed them to clean the blood off his face and place a bandage over a cut on his nose. Given his refusal to cooperate, EMS personnel were unable to fully assess the man’s injuries. Police then drove the man to the Calgary Drop-In Centre, where he was issued a ticket for public intoxication and released.

After being released, the man sought immediate medical attention and was diagnosed with extensive comminuted facial fractures in the area surrounding his nose. It was also believed that he might have sustained a concussion.

When interviewed, the man admitted to the consumption of marijuana, alcohol and prescription medications at the time of the incident. He was concerned that his memory of the events was not clear, and he admitted he may have accidentally kicked the officer. The severity of the injuries was concerning, however, and the man felt the level of force used was excessive given he was handcuffed and seated in the police vehicle.

ASIRT Executive Director Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the completed ASIRT investigation and, upon reviewing it, forwarded the investigative file to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) for an opinion. After having reviewed the evidence in this case and the opinion of the ACPS, the officer will not be charged with any criminal offences, as it is the opinion of the Crown that there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction and the case would not meet the standard for prosecution.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently, and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.