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Affected person of recent ASIRT investigation expresses frustration with process

Described as the "affected person" in a recent ASIRT report, a local woman spoke with Lakeland This Week, expressing her frustration with the investigation and decision.
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ELK POINT – Should one feel safe where they work? And is feeling unsafe at a workplace normal? These are some of the questions that a local resident, described as the "affected person" in a recently concluded investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), has. 

In 2019, two members of the Elk Point RCMP detachment allegedly pointed tasers, a form of conducted energy weapon (CEW) at a civilian employee who worked at the detachment from early 2018 to late 2019.

ASIRT completed its investigation in 2021, concluding that CEWs had been pointed at a detachment staff “in a joking manner.” 

The case was referred to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) for an opinion. The Crown recommended no charges be laid. ASIRT released its full report on January 2024. 

RELATED STORY - No charges for Elk Point RCMP officers who allegedly pointed tasers at civilian staff member

Local woman speaks out 

Described as the "affected person" in the ASIRT report, the local woman spoke with Lakeland This Week, expressing her frustration with the investigation and the Crown’s decision. She requested her name not be used due to sensitivities with her current employment.

She first clarified that she was not a civilian employee as per the report, which, she says is an important fact. 

She was the program manager of the Elk Point and Area Victim Services, and was not being paid by the RCMP. She reported to the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. She said this means she did not have the same protection given to civilian employees of the RCMP. 

While Elk Point and Area Victim Services works in partnership with the RCMP, they are under the Alberta Police-Based Victim Services, a non-profit organization, funded through the Alberta government’s Victims of Crime Fund. 

During the incident, she said she felt minimized and degraded. Approaching one of the officers, she requested them to stop it, and told them it wasn’t okay. The officer “kind of like just laughed and went about his day,” she said. 

“In fairness, I’m sure I did too, because what was I going to do?” she said, explaining she felt anxious. She believes the incident may not have happened if there was a more senior officer in attendance.

Not long after, she posted a now deleted post on social media. According to the post, she said she struggled with the idea of sharing her story, “mostly out of fear and embarrassment.” She also revealed she had resigned from her position. 

 

She believes it was because of her online post that ASIRT got involved. ASIRT spoke to her in December 2019. 

She hoped that when ASIRT completed its full investigation in 2021, that they would have informed her about the conclusion. She said ASIRT never got in contact with her until 2024 when they released their report. 

Matthew Block, assistant executive director at ASIRT, told Lakeland This Week that ASIRT will start an investigation when the Director of Law Enforcement tells ASIRT to do so. 

Asked about how the investigation was released in January 2024, Block said it generally takes a while to complete a report. Specifically to the Elk Point investigation, Block said there was an internal letter that was missed, causing it to take longer to compile.  

The AP also expressed her frustration with the Crown’s decision – recommending that no charges be laid. “There’s just no accountability to what happened... I’m not asking for an apology because that really means nothing,” she said. “But there has to be some accountability here."

She wanted to know why the Crown did not press charges, aside from what she’s seen in the ASIRT report.

“We see trials go to court every day that have no likelihood of conviction. Even if there was not a likelihood of conviction, you don’t think the public deserves to know what is happening?” she questioned. 

In a statement to Lakeland This Week, the ACPS said that ASIRT and the ACPS follow different standards in the assessment of the viability of filing charges following an investigation. 

ASIRT looks at whether there is a good reason to believe an offense was committed. In this case, ASIRT concluded that while there was insufficient evidence to support specific criminal charges, “there is evidence of misuse of CEWs in Elk Point detachment,” according to the report. 

For the ACPS, they do not conduct prosecutions “unless the evidence establishes a reasonable likelihood of conviction and the matter is in the public interest.” 


Mario Cabradilla

About the Author: Mario Cabradilla

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