Home / Blog / Edmonton police officer who failed to help shackle resisting prisoner docked 40 hours pay

Edmonton police officer who failed to help shackle resisting prisoner docked 40 hours pay

May 08, 2023May 08, 2023

An Edmonton police officer accused of verbally abusing his peace officer colleagues — allegedly telling them trained monkeys could do their jobs — was handed a 40-hour suspension for failing to help his squad mates shackle a resisting prisoner.

On Thursday, Edmonton police released four disciplinary decisions dating back to December 2021 — a delay the service's freedom of information unit attributed to staffing issues.

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One of the decisions, issued Dec. 2, 2021, deals with an officer who worked in the downtown headquarter's detainee management unit, which has 19 cells for holding prisoners.

The constable, who is not identified in the decision, was charged with six counts of misconduct under the Police Act, tied to incidents dating back to 2018.

Five of the alleged incidents related to alleged breaches of the service's workplace harassment policy.

The officer was accused of treating the community peace officers (CPOs) assigned to the unit "in a manner that was not respectful," allegedly referring to them as "lower class," "peons" and "security guards" over the course of a year.

Those allegations were withdrawn, however, after the officer pleaded guilty to a count of neglect of duty for failing to help colleagues restrain a violent prisoner.

The officer admitted that on Dec. 2, 2018, he remained in the detainee management unit's booking office while at least five other members of his squad — include CPOs — struggled to cuff a woman who was kicking, flailing and attempting to bite the officers.

Despite having TV monitors showing the entire cellblock, and despite calls for help from his sergeant, the officer's contribution to ending the struggle was handing a pair of shackles to a paramedic, who hid in her office when the struggle began but crossed to the booking office when it became clear help wasn't coming.

The decision says the officer handed over the shackles "but did not inquire why she needed them and did not offer to assist." The paramedic, who was not trained in the use of force, was the one who ultimately applied the shackles and brought the incident to an end.

Fred Kamins, the retired RCMP officer who heard the case, accepted a joint submission from lawyers for the police chief and the officer, sentencing him to a 40-hour suspension without pay, served in five-hour increments per pay period.

Kamins said the suspension amounts to about $2,200. He said the officer's misconduct undermined the confidence of his co-workers "and must be taken seriously."

The officer otherwise had a good service record, Kamins added, saying his conduct was "an isolated incident and not a pattern of behaviour."

The disciplinary decision released this week does not include the officer's name. While hearings are open to the public, the service typically only identifies an officer if they are convicted and sentenced to reductions in rank, lost pay or dismissal. No explanation was provided for the removal of the officer's name in this case.

In a statement about the delay in releasing the decision, the police freedom of information unit said it is working "with reduced administrative capacity" and that its focus is on "opening and closing FOIPP requests."

Cheryl Voordenhout, EPS spokeswoman, said the unit "has experienced workload issues related to the attrition of some experienced staff members, as well as a marked increase in FOIPP requests."

"They are currently working to catch up with the redaction, posting, and distribution of recent disciplinary decisions," she said.

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