By Jensen, Randy on May 13, 2020.
Following discussions between the Director of Law Enforcement, the Lethbridge Police Service and the Medicine Hat Police Service, regarding an external investigation into the actions of several LPS officers who responded to a firearms complaint May 4, the matter has been deemed by the Director of Law Enforcement to meet the criteria of Section 46.1 of the Police Act which relates to serious and sensitive matters, according to a release from LPS.
After the investigation has been completed by the MHPS it will be reviewed by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to ensure the investigation was conducted impartially, thoroughly and without bias. ASIRT is an independent provincial agency that investigates incidents where serious injury or death may have been caused by police and serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
On May 4 at about 11 a.m. police responded to two 911 calls reporting a person in a stormtrooper costume carrying a firearm along the 500 block of 13 Street North. The weapon was ultimately confirmed to be a fake firearm and the female subject, who indicated she was an employee promoting a local restaurant, was not charged. The female sustained a bloody nose during the takedown but did not require medical attention.
ASIRT’s role in a review is to provide an objective, independent, critical examination and assessment of an investigation to confirm that it was properly conducted using best practices and ensure all appropriate investigative steps were taken, the LPS release stated. The process is robust and involves an ASIRT investigator, team commander, the director of investigations and ultimately the executive director to review the investigation.
Once the review is complete, the file will be returned to the home agency with any recommendations ASIRT may have made. Those recommendations could relate to specific steps that could or should be pursued in the investigation or broader practice or policy recommendations. The assessment of whether there are reasonable grounds to believe an officer has committed a criminal offence is not within the scope of an ASIRT review. In a review, ASIRT assesses the quality of the investigation not the incident itself.
No further comment will be made by LPS at this time as the investigation is not within the service’s jurisdiction.