Police scandal hits Edmonton; top cop on leave
Edmonton's chief of police has gone on indefinite medical leave just as his
department is being blasted over a 'sting' scandal.
Police Chief Fred Rayner
CTV.ca News Staff
"The Edmonton Police Commission was just notified through counsel for
Police Chief Fred Rayner that effective immediately he is on a medical leave
of absence and deputy chief Darryl da Costa has been appointed acting chief,''
Martin Ignasiak, the commission's chair, told reporters.
The announcement came after the department was criticized for an incident in
which it appeared police were attempting to catch the commission's chair and a
newspaper columnist driving while impaired.
Rayner had claimed the Nov. 18 stakeout of a downtown bar had begun with a tip
that Kerry Diotte, an Edmonton Sun columnist who had been critical of police,
might drive after drinking heavily. It was just a coincidence that Ignasiak
was at the same establishment, he said.
The two men were attending a Canadian Association of Journalists event.
Harvey Cenaiko, the province's solicitor general, said after reading
transcripts of radio transmissions he had "grave concerns" over how the
incident had been investigated.
The transcripts, leaked to the Edmonton Journal and published on the weekend,
suggest the police were targeting Ignasiak, that the tip on Diotte was dubious
and that the officers involved spoke of covering up the allegedly routine
operation (they didn't want to admit they had spotter officers in the bar).
"It's very upsetting,'' Cenaiko told journalists. "What happens is that it
places a black mark on the whole Edmonton Police Service and it shouldn't.
There are a number of officers there that have done something that is totally
irresponsible, totally wrong.''
Numerous people, ranging from defence lawyers to municipal politicians, have
called for an inquiry.
While Cenaiko had initially rejected the idea of an inquiry, he is now
reconsidering the idea.
"It's obvious from reading that transcript that there's a number of officers
-- not the whole Edmonton Police Service -- ... that partook in an activity
that was extremely, extremely inappropriate."
He also said legislation will come this spring to increase civilian oversight
of police activities.
Stephen Mandel, Edmonton's mayor, said he supported whatever action was deemed
necessary by Cenaiko or the commission to get to the bottom of things.
Rayner, who was appointed chief in May 2004, said this last week: "They were
there not to target Mr. Diotte because of what he said, but because of the
potential behaviour that the members out on the street, around the Overtime
Bar, felt he might engage in."
A group of criminal trial lawyers wants Rayner charged in connection with that
statement, saying he lied to the media.
Rayner also said two senior officers were being investigated and a third was
being investigated for allegedly using profane language on a police radio.
What was said
There were seven police officers in and around the bar.
Here is an exchange as they try spot Diotte (designated T1 for Target One;
Ignasiak was T2), who is balding:
P4: Nobody is dressed like he is anyway so he will stick out. He's got a real
bright royal blue button-up shirt with a tie on and a sports jacket and his
shiny, shiny dome.
P1: A couple faggy looking guys coming out now. Maybe one of them's him.
Before that, P1 says, "Yeah, I think the guy who gets this target will never
have to pay for a drink as long as he lives."
Robert Bragg, a journalism instructor in Calgary, says: "Reading the
transcript, it sounds like a real hick town kind of behaviour that's going on.
Really amateur, almost Keystone-like activity. But it's sinister none the
He noted, however, the government only acted after the transcripts became
City councillors are wondering what to make of all this.
"I'll just give you the opinion of a lot of my constituents. It's one of
confusion and concern," says Mike Nickel.
But a lawyer for the two police officers charged with discreditable conduct
called a news conference to attack the media.
"Unfortunately, biased and inflammatory articles have been published in our
media that have affected the rights of those officers to a fair and impartial
hearing," says Robert Hladun.
Diotte is pleased that some action appears to be happening on the file.
"I think it's good news people are starting to wake up and pay attention. I
think it's a very serious issue," he told CFRN News.
"If this is happening to a journalist, who has a public voice, what's
happening day to day to an average guy who isn't so privileged?" he asked.
Other past problems
A year ago, the service was buffeted by allegations that some vice squad
officers had shaken down prostitutes for sex and money in the mid-1980s.
An anonymous allegation claimed that city officers accepted benefits from a
company later recommended for a contract to operate photo radar.
In the last four years, high-speed police chases have more than doubled in
With reports from CTV's Sarah Galashan, CFRN's Dan Kobe and files from The
The 1978 Grizzly armoured personnel carrier can carry as many as 10 officers into armed standoffs and hostage situations. The Department of Defence donated the decommissioned vehicle, then police spent $35,000 to strip away the weapons systems and give it a paint job.
The carrier will be used only as a defensive tool.
"The vehicle, as it stands now, is a heavily armed bus," said Sgt. Pete Cherniawsky of the police tactical unit. "It has no offensive capability at all, just body armour for the people inside is what it is. It allows us to work safely inside."
The primary use will be to protect officers and civilians in high-risk situations. The vehicle was last used in Bosnia a decade ago.
Edmonton cops now admit to being even more violent than before scandal. July 2007
CFRN-TV carried the story on Wednesday 18 June 2007 in both major
The Edmonton Sun has a banner headline on pages 4 and 5 covering
the 2 stories about the rogue cops.
From their own admissions, in the 2006 Use of Force Review from the
police, the gestapo-like police are admitting that use of bodily force is up
128% over last year!
Use of guns is up 65% - cops admitted to using their guns 377 times last
year, compared to only 177 incidents in 2005 - especially when shooting
people in the back, or stomach.
Use of physical force they admit is up 128%, which they state included:
hand-stuns, knee and elbow strikes, punching, and kicking.
Use of batons is almost double, at an increase of 94%. Not included is the use of tasers.
This kind of corruption (below) is a reflection on their actual concern for
RCMP officer may have been distressed, not drunk - judge
The Edmonton Journal
Saturday, May 28, 2005
EDMONTON - Two impaired driving charges against a St.
Albert RCMP officer were dismissed in provincial court Friday because some
evidence was ruled inadmissible.
Const. Bradley Laporte was charged with impaired driving and registering
over the legal blood-alcohol limit after he was involved in a crash last
July near the corner of 95th Street and 115th Avenue.
In court Friday, judge David McNab dismissed the charge of blowing over .08
on a breathalyser, because of a procedural error. The officer who arrested
Laporte, Edmonton police Const. Jason Mitzel, failed to provide adequate
documentation of his demand that Laporte take the test.
Without blood alcohol evidence, the second charge was also dismissed because
of conflicting testimony as to whether Laporte's erratic behaviour was the
result of extreme emotional distress or drunkenness.
"Even though Mr. Laporte consumed too much alcohol, I can't say with the
required 100-per-cent certainty that it impaired his ability to operate a
motor vehicle," McNab said.
Laporte's troubles began just before 11 p.m. on July 4, 2004, when he
rear-ended Kee Huy's vehicle on 95th Street.
No one was injured in the crash, and Huy's car suffered only minor damage.
But Laporte refused to provide Huy with his licence and insurance. Huy had
concerns about his sobriety.
"I noticed he was intoxicated," Huy told court. "I could smell
Huy called the police. When Mitzel showed up, he motioned for Laporte to get
out of his vehicle. Laporte almost fell out of the Jeep and had to brace
himself to stay upright, Mitzel said." A strong odour of alcohol was
emitted from his breath," Mitzel said.
Mitzel also noticed "major slurring" and "distortion" of
Once Laporte was in the police car, he became extremely emotional, fearing
for his career and family. "He kept saying his life was going to be ruined,"
Mitzel said. "He wanted to have a break because he was a police officer."
Laporte continued acting erratically, sometimes getting angry, other times
crying, Mitzel said.
At the police station, Laporte gave two breath samples at Mitzel's prompting.
But the results of those tests were not admissible as evidence because of a
recent Court of Queen's Bench ruling that requires precise documentation of
the breathalyser request.
Laporte's wife, Sylvia, disputed Mitzel's testimony, saying her husband was
not visibly drunk that night.
"I could tell he'd had some drinks," she said, but added he was sober enough
Sylvia said she could smell her husband's heavy perspiration, but not alcohol.
In the end, McNab ruled there was reasonable doubt as to whether
Laporte's alcohol consumption affected his ability to drive a vehicle. It is
possible, he said, that Mitzel and Huy confused his obvious emotional distress
© The Edmonton Journal 2005
Statistics support claims of bias against men by Grant A. Brown,
It is widely known that women are disproportionately the victims in the
more severe cases of domestic violence. In fact, women are 3 times more
likely to be killed by their partners, and are as much as 7 times more
likely to suffer an injury requiring medical attention at the hands of
their partners. Still, violence at this degree of severity occurs in
only about 2% to 4% of the cases of domestic abuse to which police
What is much less well-known is that when the police respond to cases of
domestic abuse, men are treated more harshly by the law-enforcement
system at every step of the process, even when taking into account
the usual aggravating circumstances such as severity of injury,
intoxication, the presence of children, and prior criminal record. This
is the striking finding of a comprehensive study I have recently
completed, using Edmonton Police Service data and data drawn from the
files of domestic abuse cases at the Edmonton Crown Prosecutor's Office.
These data are highly consistent with nationally representative data
from urban centers across Canada.
The disparity in the treatment of male and female suspects is most
noticeable, in fact, in precisely the category of cases where Statistics
Canada reports the greatest equality in perpetration - i.e. in low-level
disputes where neither party suffered any injury at all. In this
category of cases, which amounts to over one- third of all cases of
domestic abuse, a man was 19 times more likely to be charged than a
And when a dispute resulted in an injury to only one party, a man was
50% more likely to be charged when the woman was injured than a woman
was to be charged when the man is injured. It gets worse. Men who were
charged with no- injury offences were more likely to have been taken
into custody at the time of the incident - over half the time - than
women who were charged with offences involving medium- and high-level
Women were less likely to have been found guilty and were more likely to
have received favourable plea-bargains than men. And men were much more
likely than women to have received a term of jail, probation, or a
conditional sentence even when level of injury, intoxication, the
presence of children, and prior criminal records were taken into
These findings were all highly statistically significant, and
cumulative: despite harsher treatment at all previous stages on the
process, men continued to be treated more harshly at all later stages.
It is difficult to explain these results without supposing that the
law-enforcement system consciously or unconsciously engages in "gender
profiling" when dealing cases of domestic abuse. This systemic
discrimination is contrary to at least two provisions in the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms, and must be halted now.
These are but a few of the interesting findings in my study.
Equality-seeking individuals and groups who are interested in seeing the
full report should contact the author at
Ex-police chief's son faces 5 charges - August 3/2007
Edmonton officer accused of assaults and threats
An Edmonton police officer who Tasered a drunken teen six times in one minute -- but was never disciplined for the act -- now faces five new criminal charges. [full report]