|Edmonton Journal - Corruption in the police force - Click HERE for Original Thread|
Thought this was interesting, considering the recent threads about edmonton cops...
EDMONTON - City police officers targeted Sun columnist Kerry Diotte because their commanding officer didn't like a column the journalist wrote, a hearing was told Tuesday.
The allegation is central to the Edmonton Police Service's case against Staff Sgt. Bill Newton, the head of the traffic section. All the evidence heard during the first day of Newton's disciplinary hearing Tuesday flowed from that allegation.
Newton is charged with insubordination and unnecessary or unlawful exercise of authority in connection with a stakeout by traffic section officers at the Overtime Taproom and Broiler on Nov. 18, 2004. The drunk-driving operation targeted Diotte and then-police commission chairman Martin Ignasiak at an informal function sponsored by the Canadian Association of Journalists.
News of the operation caused a public uproar and the police commission eventually dismissed chief Fred Rayner following his report on the internal investigation into the matter.
In his opening statement, Edmonton lawyer Don Wilson, presenting the police department's case against Newton, told the hearing Newton abused his power and authority as a police officer by going after a critic of the police force with "no valid, current or credible information."
For personal reasons, Wilson said, Newton ordered his officers to pursue Diotte based on innuendo and rumour that Diotte was a habitual drunk driver.
The lawyer said Newton's animosity toward Diotte arose from an April 4, 2004, column in which Diotte accused the city police traffic section of using photo radar as a "cash cow" to "victimize" Edmonton drivers.
Wilson said Diotte's column was the subject of "considerable discussion" by traffic officers at shift change the day the column appeared.
On April 6, Wilson said, Newton ordered a subordinate, Sgt. Randy Schreiner, to search Diotte's name on confidential police databases. Schreiner knew those databases can only be searched for valid police purposes.
"Schreiner told Newton he had problems with doing the search and told him, 'He had better save his ass if questioned about this,' " Wilson told RCMP Assistant Commissioner Ian Atkins, the hearing's adjudicator.
Directing Schreiner to conduct the search formed the basis of the insubordination charge against Newton, Wilson said.
The lawyer said Newton maintained his animosity toward Diotte until the police department began its much-publicized Target All Drunk Drivers program for the Christmas season.
At shift change on Nov. 10 and Nov. 18, Wilson said, Newton directed officers to be on the lookout for Diotte and provided the assembled officers with the description and licence plate number of Diotte's BMW convertible.
Wilson said Newton also supplied officers with Diotte's home address and a description of his house.
Sgt. Glen Hayden testified that Newton asked him last Nov. 18 to check downtown bars and keep an eye out for Diotte "if he had time."
"At that point I stopped him and I said, 'let me guess, at the Overtime?' and he said, 'how did you know that?' " Hayden said, adding that he had twice seen Diotte drinking at the Overtime.
Hayden testified he didn't have his police notebook with him, but jotted the information about Diotte's car, licence plate and address on a Post-It note. He said he still doesn't know where Newton got his information.
Hayden and his partner, Const. Pat McCormack, testified they found Diotte's car outside the Overtime that evening. Despite not knowing whether Diotte was in the bar, Hayden decided to request surveillance by members of a special squad that targets aggressive drivers.
Two squad officers in street clothes went inside the bar and identified Diotte and Ignasiak and both men were designated as targets, Hayden said. He acknowledged others in the bar that evening were likely drinking. No other patrons were targeted.
The hearing was told that a lookout bulletin for Diotte was issued after Const. Darren Smith, an officer at the Strathcona police station, got a phone call from an informant inside the bar that Diotte was drunk and would drive home as usual.
Diotte has no drunk-driving convictions, McCormack told the hearing.
Wilson said the tip about Diotte was a "red herring" because surveillance got underway three hours earlier.
Hayden said he "absolutely" considered Diotte a legitimate target and exercised his discretion as the senior officer to call in the surveillance team.
Theres another unrelated story regarding the Edmonton Police Service, well more specifically the Chief.
Police chief complaint
More problems for Edmonton police chief Darryl da Costa.
A private citizen has filed a complaint with the city's police commission after da Costa admitted he accepted hockey tickets from a company bidding to keep a photo radar contract.
Marshall Deslauriers complaint is being backed by the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.
Da Costa would not comment.
I heard about that sting.. long time ago, too funny
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