CALGARY — Alberta’s justice minister has ordered an inquiry into how authorities responded to perjury and assault allegations stemming from an arrest involving two Calgary police officers, including one who would become president of the city’s police union.
The Law Enforcement Review Board is to examine whether there were any efforts to hinder public oversight of the officers who arrested Jason Cyrus Arkinstall during a traffic stop in August 2008.
“It’s critical to ensure that the public has confidence in Alberta’s police and civilian oversight bodies. Holding an inquiry will allow this case to be examined in full view of the public,” Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said in a statement Wednesday.
Arkinstall, who was charged with uttering threats, was acquitted in 2011. The judge said in his written decision that Sgt. Les Kaminski and Const. Brant Derrick were not credible witnesses.
Kaminski, who now heads the 2,200-member Calgary Police Association, is charged with perjury and Derrick faces one count of assault.
The inquiry will operate independently from current criminal proceedings against the officers, who have yet to go to trial and are presumed to be innocent.
It has the support of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team — which recommended charges against the two officers — the Calgary Police Commission, the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association policing committee and the Calgary Police Service.
“We very much welcome this inquiry and will support it unconditionally. Public trust and confidence are the cornerstone of community policing,” said police Chief Roger Chaffin.
“In my opinion, the most appropriate way to achieve this in relation to this matter is through a full and transparent inquiry by the Law Enforcement Review Board.”
Kaminski was unavailable for comment.
The inquiry will examine the time between Arkinstall’s arrest and the charges this year to determine if people with responsibilities connected to policing prevented proper oversight of the case through any acts or omissions.
The Law Enforcement Review Board said it is too soon to say how the inquiry will play out.
“At this point, I can confirm we have written to the Calgary Police Service directing that it produce records in relations to that matter. Once we receive those records we will review them and then decide how best to proceed,” said board secretary Barb Newton.
“This matter is going to proceed. We’ve been directed by the minister to inquire into the actions.”