This release is distributed by the Government of Alberta on behalf of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.
RCMP officers charged following ASIRT investigation
On July 3, 2018, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding an RCMP officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a 31-year-old man.
On July 2, 2018, a 31-year-old man was in a residence in Valhalla Centre when unidentified perpetrators attacked the residence and fired upon the occupants. While one occupant was injured during the incident, the 31-year-old man was able to flee the area in a very distinctive vehicle. As RCMP officers began to investigate the incident, they sought to locate and interview the man as a witness to the events and, indeed, as the possible intended victim.
On July 3, 2018, an off-duty RCMP officer observed what he believed to be the vehicle in question parked at the Chickadee Creek rest stop west of Whitecourt, and provided this information to nearby RCMP members.
Shortly after 12:15 p.m., officers attended the location and found the vehicle parked with what appeared to be one occupant asleep in the reclined driver’s seat. The officers approached the vehicle and a confrontation occurred, during which the vehicle was put into motion. One officer discharged a service pistol at the vehicle while a second officer discharged a carbine rifle. The vehicle left the rest stop, crossed the highway and entered a ditch a short distance away.
The RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) was called in to clear the scene and located the 31-year-old-man deceased in the driver’s seat, having sustained several gunshot wounds.
ASIRT conducted a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. Upon reviewing the evidence, ASIRT executive director Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., determined that the evidence was capable of providing reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence(s) had been committed and, accordingly, on Aug. 22, 2019, the completed investigation was forwarded to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) for an opinion on whether the case met their standard for prosecution. On May 29, 2020, ASIRT received the completed final opinion. Having carefully reviewed the completed investigation and the provided position of the Crown, Ms. Hughson concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that criminal offences had been committed and that the two RCMP officers who discharged their firearms should be charged.
On June 5, Cpl. Randy Stenger and Const. Jessica Brown, both RCMP officers with the Whitecourt RCMP detachment, were arrested and each charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death in relation to the death of the 31-year-old man, Clayton Crawford, contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Code.
Both officers were released on an undertaking with conditions, including a prohibition from the possession of firearms, to appear in Whitecourt Provincial Court on July 14.
As these matters are now before the courts, ASIRT will not provide any further information in relation to these incidents.
ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently, and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
Alberta premier to outline more support for business during COVID health restrictions
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is to speak this morning on providing more support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenney promised more aid last week after his government introduced a new round of restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity and restaurants can only offer takeout or curbside service, although patios remain open.
The Opposition NDP says Kenney’s government has failed for a year to properly manage economic supports, saying the money is always too little, too late.
Kenney faces opposition from some quarters — even within his own caucus — to ease up on public-health measures even as the province is recording more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
He says restrictions on public gatherings need to be in place a bit longer until vaccination rates reach critical mass.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021
The Canadian Press
Positive COVID-19 tests at world men's curling championship deemed “false positives”
CALGARY — The four positive COVID-19 tests that interrupted the men’s world curling championship are considered “false positives” from potentially contaminated samples, according to the World Curling Federation.
The men’s championship concluded late Sunday night with Sweden’s Niklas Edin winning a record fifth world men’s title.
No games were played Saturday because four participants, including one from a playoff team, tested positive for the virus in “exit” tests before leaving Calgary’s curling bubble.
None had symptoms of the illness.
All have tested negative in multiple re-tests since then, the WCF said Monday in a statement. All tests were conducted via PCR throat swabs.
“According to Alberta Health, PCR testing remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing,” the WCF said. “Very rarely, there are occurrences through sampling or testing processes when samples may become contaminated and a false positive may result.
“Following an investigation over the weekend, it appears that this may have occurred in this case and follow-up testing was undertaken.”
All athletes and personnel considered close contacts of the four underwent testing Saturday with all results negative.
Every playoff team member was tested before and after each game Sunday with those results also negative, the WCF said. Hotel staff were also tested Sunday and cleared.
“With the original four positive test results now deemed as false positives, the integrity of the Calgary bubble remains intact,” the WCF declared.
“The change also allows international athletes who were considered close contacts, and who would have had to remain in isolation in Calgary for 14 days, will now be able to depart Calgary.”
The fifth of seven events in Calgary’s curling hub, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, gets underway Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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