Police Act ‘loophole’ allows another officer to resign in face of disciplinary hearing

Another Calgary police officer, who was recently convicted of aggravated assault and had been facing two disciplinary hearings, has quit the service, dodging further allegations of misconduct.

Const. Trevor Lindsay’s internal disciplinary hearing was to begin this fall in connection with the 2013 beating of Godfred Addai, which was caught on police helicopter video.

Addai had been dropped off far from his home in the dead of winter by one officer, who issued a ticket for public intoxication, and then beaten by Lindsay after calling 911 for help.

Last year, Lindsay was convicted of aggravated assault for fracturing a man’s head during a 2015 arrest in an unrelated incident. A disciplinary hearing had not yet been scheduled because Lindsay’s criminal court case has not concluded.

He resigned on Friday.

Although Addai-Nyamekye filed a formal complaint with the Calgary Police Service, the officers involved remained on duty and Const. Trevor Lindsay went on to be charged with aggravated assault in the May 2015 arrest of Daniel Haworth, the son of a former Calgary police officer. 0:55

Alberta is one of the few, if not the only, jurisdictions in the country where police officers can resign in the face of discipline and maintain a clean record if they haven’t been charged and convicted criminally.

“What this means is no disciplinary hearing for Lindsay on Godfred’s case due to a Police Act loophole that allows cops to evade accountability by resigning, something no other Alberta profession allows,” said Addai’s lawyer, Tom Engle, in a series of tweets.

Following the two internal hearings, a decision would have been made as to whether discipline was warranted up to and including dismissal. 

“While officers can still face criminal charges after their employment ends, we do not have the authority under Alberta’s Police Act to continue internal disciplinary proceedings when a police officer is no longer employed by the service,” the Calgary Police Service said in a written statement.

Trevor Lindsay was convicted of aggravated assault in connection with head injuries he caused Daniel Haworth, who suffered a fractured skull. (Supplied)

Lindsay has yet to be sentenced for his June 2019 aggravated assault conviction. This week, prosecutor John Baharustani appeared before the trial judge to make arguments that he be allowed to call evidence from the attack on Addai on Dec. 28, 2013.

The assault on Addai was the focus of a CBC documentary, Above the Law, about Calgary police use of force, which aired earlier this summer.

Baharustani told the judge he watched the video of the beating for the first time when he saw the documentary. The prosecutor indicated a plan to show the video. He also wants to call Addai to testify. 

“When I saw that video … it struck me as evidence that may be helpful in terms of our matter,” said Baharustani.

The prosecutor pointed out that “once again” this was a case of “Lindsay versus a handcuffed individual.”

A six-day sentencing hearing has been set to begin next April.

Godfred Addai-Nyamekye. (Lost Time Media)

On Dec. 28, 2013, after he was dropped off by police on a frigid winter night, far from his home, Lindsay was dispatched after Addai called 911 for help.

Two minutes after he arrived, Lindsay called for assistance. He said he had become involved in a “physical altercation” with Addai and had deployed his Taser.

Video from the CPS helicopter shows the incident as it unfolds.

A handcuffed Addai falls in the snow when Lindsay tries to drag him while handcuffed. Lindsay falls on top of him.

Lindsay can be seen punching Addai in the back of the head before repeatedly kneeing him in the back, head and neck.

Police helicopter footage shows the violent arrest of Godfred Addai-Nyamekye in December, 2013. 3:16

Addai was charged with assaulting a peace officer but was acquitted at trial after the judge rejected the officers’ version of events, saying he found no evidence the accused struck either officer.

Following the incident, Addai filed a complaint against CPS.

After prompting from Engle, the Law Enforcement Review Board launched an inquiry in 2018 to examine CPS’s investigative process surrounding Addai’s complaints.

That meant Lindsay’s disciplinary hearing was put on hold but was slated to begin this fall.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is reviewing the investigation of the incident. 

In court on Tuesday, Baharustani indicated he has been told by ASIRT to expect its investigative results later this month. 

Const. Maurice McLoughlin, who fatally shot an unarmed man in a motel room in 2015, resigned from the Calgary Police Service after the chief announced he would be sending the case to a disciplinary hearing. (Facebook)

In May, another officer, Const. Maurice McLoughlin, quit the service after Chief Mark Neufeld sent his case to a disciplinary hearing.

McLoughlin shot Anthony Heffernan, 27, who was unarmed, four times on March 16, 2015, after police were called to a northeast hotel check on the victim. 

The Criminal Trial Lawyers Association’s police committee says it has asked the province to review the “escape route” when it reviews the Police Act.

In 2009, Engel sent a letter to the solicitor general asking for the “unacceptable gap” in the Police Act to be closed by the provincial government.

Engel says the Law Enforcement Review Board has also asked the government to change the practice. 

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