Watchdog orders inquiry into city police incident that saw man left in freezing conditions

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Allegations that city police ignored a complaint about the conduct of two of its officers have led to another public inquiry into how the force investigates its own.

A decision by the Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) to hold the hearing comes on the heels of a five-day inquiry last month into why it took the Calgary Police Service three years to trigger an investigation into the violent arrest of a Hells Angels member after a judge castigated two officers’ court testimony.

In the latest allegation, the LERB states the force dismissed a complaint by a Calgary man who says two officers detained him and then left him lightly dressed in downtown Calgary on a -17 C early morning on Dec.  28, 2013.

The incident began when constables Ben Donockley and K. Kwasnica encountered Godfred Addai-Nyamekye and two other men whose vehicle was stuck in a snow bank in Ramsay.

Donockley said Addai-Nyamekye then got into an altercation with one of his friends; he was arrested for being drunk in a public place and driven to the downtown East Village.

It was there that he was dropped off at 3:42 a.m., clad in a light shirt and track suit.

When he called 911 for help, Const. Trevor Lindsay responded and alleged Addai-Nyamekye became aggressive.

The officer said he was forced to push the man to the ground and deployed a taser to control him.

In a video recorded by a police HAWC helicopter, an officer can be seen punching and kneeing a man who’s lying on the ground.

HAWCS surveillance image of the arrest of Godfried Addai on the morning of December 28, 2013 (supplied) CTV


Addai-Nyamekye was later acquitted of a charge of assault and launched a $1 million lawsuit against several officers and then-police chief Rick Hanson for what he claims were physical and emotional damages sustained in encounters with police that day.

The CPS had said Addai-Nyamekye failed to file a complaint against Donockley and Kwasnica before a one-year deadline, he had only named Lindsay and that the issue had been withdrawn.

But the LERB disagreed, thus ordering the inquiry.

“Despite the fact the letter of complaint is titled and directed only at Const. Lindsay, (Addai-Nyamekye) dedicated an equal number of paragraphs outlining his allegations against Donockley and Kwasnica.

“It is clear that, at the time, various levels of CPS management recognized that (Addai-Nyamekye’s) complaint encompassed all of the respondents’ conduct, not just Lindsay’s. . . CPS failed to follow its own complaint withdrawal policy and procedure.”

The case spans the leadership of former chief Rick Hanson and his current successor Roger Chaffin.

“It shows this was a systemic problem,” said lawyer Tom Engel, who has represented Addai-Nyamekye, will participate in the upcoming inquiry and took part in last month’s hearings.

Lindsay, he said, was investigated and has yet to undergo a disciplinary hearing.

In a statement, the CPS wouldn’t comment on the case but added “we welcome independent review and oversight and we continuously look at ways to improve our service to the community.”

A date for the inquiry hasn’t been set. Such inquiries can’t attach blame but can craft recommendations that are presented to Alberta’s justice minister.


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News Article written by: 
Bill Kaufmann
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