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"This was a failure of the service" - Calgary police apologize for mistakes in officer investigation

(Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Calgary police Deputy Chief Ray Robitaille was very upfront Monday about mistakes made during an investigation process that followed an arrest 10 years ago.

“This was a failure of the service as a whole, and for that, we apologize,” he said from the podium in the media room at Calgary Police Service headquarters in the northeast.

It comes after an inquiry report was released by the Law Enforcement Review Board earlier in the day about an arrest in 2008 in downtown Calgary.

Jason Arkinstall, a Hell’s Angels member, was stopped by Constable Brant Derrick for a traffic violation.

Const. Derrick saw there was a criminal charge against Arkinstall from police in British Columbia. That charge had actually been withdrawn, but Derrick did not see that fact and conducted an arrest.

Police say Arkinstall threatened the constable and backup was called. What followed was caught on video by a witness — showing a somewhat violent arrest where Arkinstall was forcibly put into the back of a police van.

Years later, in 2011, Derrick was accused of assault and a trial was ordered. During that trial, former officer and current Calgary Police Association President Les Kaminski was ruled to have given unreliable testimony and was later charged with perjury.

Derrick was later acquitted, while the charge against Kaminski was withdrawn in January.

A review was ordered, and now the report has shown while there was no wrongdoing — nor any effort to cover up the assault — there were still mistakes made during the investigation into misconduct.

“It wasn’t handled in a way that was is as tight as the majority of our complaint processes,” Robitaille admitted.

There were issues with note-taking, which were revealed during Kaminski’s testimony. Problems were also revealed over reporting concerns to executives and officials with the Province of Alberta. The fact it took so long for Arkinstall to lodge a complaint was also identified by the Law Enforcement Review Board inquiry.

A series of recommendations have been made, and the CPS is already putting some of them in place.

“The service takes the findings of the Arkinstall inquiry very seriously and accepts the recommendations made by the Law Enforcement Review Board relating to the Calgary Police Service,” said Robitaille. “We’ve already taken many steps to improve the policies and procedures that led to the mishandling of the investigation into the Arkinstall case.”

There are some more recommendations, including long-term ones, that Robitaille said they will continue to explore.

“There is still work to be done, and we are committed to continuing this work until all issues identified in this report are addressed.”

He was clear that the CPS is sorry about the mistakes made, and wants to restore any public trust that may have been lost.

“We police by consent, and that consent is from public trust. The public expects that we follow due process,” said Robitaille. “There were a lot of questions around that (investigation process), that would cause the public to have some questions — rightfully so — and we should be above that.”

You can read the full report here.