Police treated dying woman properly

LETHBRIDGE — A panel has ruled that police officers who had a court order to take a dying woman’s children away from her acted professionally and with compassion at a highly emotional time.

LETHBRIDGE — A panel has ruled that police officers who had a court order to take a dying woman’s children away from her acted professionally and with compassion at a highly emotional time.

Andrea Glover’s appeal to the Law Enforcement Review Board accused officers of being “negligent, insensitive, aggressive, rude and abrupt” when they removed her gravely ill sister’s children from their mother’s home in Lethbridge in August 2005.

Glover and her siblings believe Monica Pomahac-Lansing would have lived longer had officers not executed an order that gave the children’s father immediate custody. Pomahac-Lansing, who had been told she had about two weeks to live, died the day after the children were taken away.

The review board on Wednesday dismissed the family’s complaint against three officers with the Lethbridge Regional Police Service.

It also says that video tapes, taken by Glover and her brothers and shown at a hearing in May, showed “all three officers performing their duties under difficult circumstances in a professional manner.”

Lethbridge police Chief Tom McKenzie said the decision completely exonerates the three officers, two of whom have since left the service.

“These officers were handling a situation where they had been given a very powerful court order that they were requested to execute,” he said.

“When there is a very directed, powerful court order, we don’t have the right to step aside. When the courts make an order, we’re compelled to follow it. We don’t have the option to dispute that or appeal that or set it down.”

An initial complaint by the family that was filed with the police service in 2006 was investigated internally and dismissed by Eugene Wehlage, the acting chief at the time. Glover then appealed the decision to the review board.

She said she’s disappointed by the outcome, but not surprised.

“I’m disillusioned with the existing process of policing the police, but this is the only avenue that’s open to civilians who dare to challenge them,” she said.

She disagreed with the board’s finding that the officers acted with compassion and said her family interpreted their actions very differently.

She denied that she and her siblings have allowed their emotions around their sister’s death to colour their impression of the police.

The panel concluded that the officers “were caught in the cross-fire of a long and bitter family dispute which continued even after the death of Monica from leukemia.”

Glover has made it her mission to protect others in her sister’s situation.

She first took her fight to Lethbridge MP Rick Casson, who led a successful effort to have Canada’s Divorce Act amended to allow terminally ill parents court-assisted access to their children.

She has also been told that her sister’s case is being used by the Justice Department in its sensitivity training for police officers.

The family is considering whether to appeal the ruling to a higher court or whether to proceed with a civil lawsuit, she said.

— By Shannon Montgomery in Calgary

Just Posted

Springbrook Skate Park gets financial boost

Province approves $125,000 grant for proposed skate park

ReThink Red Deer gets thumbs up from city on pollinator barn structure

Group is hoping to get a $40,000 building grant

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Team Alberta athletes arrive in Red Deer on Saturday for pre-games orientation

Excitement is building with less than a month to go, says Team Alberta spokesperson

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Most Read