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Two Calgary Police Service officers charged with serious crimes

Two Calgary police officers charged

CALGARY — Alberta's police watchdog says two officers from the Calgary Police Service have been charged with serious crimes, including the new head of the city's police union.

Sgt. Les Kaminski has been charged with perjury and assault with a weapon and Const. Brant Derrick has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said Tuesday.

The charges stem from the arrest of Jason Arkinstall following a routine traffic stop in downtown Calgary in 2008 and from the evidence given during his trial on one count of uttering threats against Derrick.

Arkinstall was acquitted in 2011, with Provincial Court Judge Terry Semenuk concluding in his ruling that neither Kaminski nor Derrick were credible or reliable witnesses.

ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson said the case was brought to her agency in January 2014, with an investigation launched the following month.

Kaminski would have known he was under investigation in the lead-up to his election as president of the Calgary Police Association president, she said.

"The fact that one of the officers has been elected to the Calgary Police Association is not relevant to my investigation or how we will deal with that officer."

Hughson said it's unfortunate it has taken this long for charges to be laid.

"The fact is, however, the majority of the delay occurred before ASIRT was directed to investigate," she said, adding the delay did not hamper the investigation, since evidence from the Arkinstall trial had been preserved.  

Calgary police Supt. Steve Barlow said a review was conducted after Arkinstall's trial, but it was determined that a broader formal investigation was not required.

"In light of the Crown's findings, and in hindsight, the service should have conducted a formal investigation at the time," he said.

He said a complaint was made in December 2013.

The Calgary Police Association said it would address the matter on Wednesday.

In his 2011 written judgement, Semenuk said Arkinstall, who was wearing a Hells Angels T-shirt and pendant at the time of the arrest, became irate and began swearing at Derrick, who called for backup. Kaminski was among the officers to arrive on the scene a few minutes later.

Semenuk wrote that during the arrest, which was caught on video by bystanders, Kaminski threw Arkinstall "like a rag doll, face first" onto the hood of the vehicle and struck him twice on the back of the neck with a baton.

The judge wrote that Derrick forcefully struck Arkinstall in the back of the head with his right hand, threw him head-first on his stomach into the back of a police van and slammed the doors on his legs and feet.

Arkinstall sustained a big bump on his right temple, a cut to his ear, swelling from the baton hits and pain and numbness in his feet and ankles from the van doors, according to the ruling.  

After being released on bail and returning to his home in British Columbia, Arkinstall had headaches, vomiting and blurred vision and was later diagnosed with a concussion, Semenuk wrote.

Both Kaminski and Derrick are to appear in Calgary provincial court on Feb. 7. The allegations against the officers have not been proven in court.

CBC News interviewed Kaminski last week, as word of the criminal investigation began surfacing.

The network reported that Kaminski said he was confident he would not be charged and that he said he had an impeccable 30-year-career that he would not put in jeopardy by doing something "untoward."

ASIRT investigates when people are killed or hurt by police or when police officers face serious or sensitive allegations of misconduct.

Kaminski is currently on a leave of absence from active duty because of his new position with the Calgary Police Association, while Derrick is on a seven-day adminstrative leave that will be reassessed when the week is up.

-- with files from CFFR


Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press