Man accused of murdering Calgary police officer in hit and run expected to plead guilty

One of the two men accused of murdering a Calgary police officer last New Year’s Eve is expected to plead guilty Wednesday morning.

Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, died after an SUV he had pulled over during a traffic stop took off, dragging the officer before he was thrown into oncoming traffic.

Amir Abdulrahman, 20, and another man, who can not be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because he was under 18 at the time, were each charged with first-degree murder. 

Harnett was a decorated officer with two Chief’s Awards for lifesaving during his 12-year career with the Calgary Police Service. He left behind a partner who was several months pregnant with the couple’s first child.

Last week, Abdulrahman’s lawyer, Balfour Der, indicated his client’s trial would not go ahead but instead a plea would be entered Wednesday with sentencing submissions to follow.

The youth’s trial is set to go ahead on Jan. 31. 

New Year’s Eve traffic stop 

Last New Year’s Eve, around 11 p.m., Harnett pulled over an SUV because its headlights weren’t on.

At the time, Abdulrahman was wanted on four warrants, including one for assault and three for failure to comply with court orders.

Sources close to the investigation provided details of the events that led to the officer’s death. 

After speaking with the driver — who police allege is the younger teen charged — Harnett was in the process of issuing traffic tickets related to the headlights and a graduated licence.

Fellow officers tried to save Harnett

The SUV took off but Harnett was still attached to the vehicle. It’s unclear if he was holding on to the SUV or became stuck. 

Harnett was dragged about 400 metres before he was flung into the path of an oncoming car.

Officers who had been called to the traffic stop for backup tried to save Harnett’s life but his injuries were too significant. He died in hospital shortly after. 

Both men accused in Harnett’s death have been denied bail and are in custody as they await trial.

Prosecutors have indicated that if convicted, the Crown would seek an adult sentence for the youth, which would mean life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.

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