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Former CPS officer uses ‘loophole’ to avoid disciplinary charges: Lawyer

Trevor Lindsay, a former police constable who was previously charged with aggravated assault and was facing disciplinary hearings, has resigned from the Calgary Police Service.

An internal disciplinary hearing against Lindsay was set to begin later this year for his involvement in a 2013 physical assault of Godfred Addai, a Black man who was handcuffed at the time.

On Dec. 28 2013, a police officer spotted Addai’s car stuck in the snow. According to the officer, Addai became aggressive so he handcuffed him, put him in the van and dropped Addai off near East Village.

Addai was freezing at the time, so he called 911 for help. Lindsay was sent to Addai’s location.

The incident of Lindsay beating Addai was caught on video by a police helicopter.

A statement regarding Lindsay’s resignation was issued by the CPS:

Trevor Lindsay no longer works for the Calgary Police Service and his last day was Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Prior to that, he was relieved from duty without pay.

Mr. Lindsay was to have a disciplinary hearing this fall to face a charge under the Police Service Regulations of Unlawful or Unnecessary Exercise of Authority for allegedly applying inappropriate force during the 2013 arrest of Godfred Addai-Nyamekye. An internal disciplinary process was also pending for his conviction of the aggravated assault of Daniel Haworth, but that process could not start until the court process for the criminal charges in that case was finished. These two internal processes would have decided if discipline is warranted and what discipline, up to and including dismissal, would have been appropriate in those cases.

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.

Since his story resurfaced, Addai has become an example and a symbol for many in Calgary. His name often gets mentioned in connection with the conversations of police brutality happening in Canada.

During a special city council meeting with CPS on Thursday (Sept. 10) Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley noted that the police report presented by Chief Mark Neufeld mentioned George Floyd several times, but didn’t mention the case of Godfred Addai.

In August, a protest which drew hundreds of Calgarians to demand justice for Addai was held.

A group of protestors outside the Calgary Court demanding justice for Godfred Addai (OMAR SHERIF/FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

A repeat occurence

In 2019, Lindsay was convicted for his connection to another violent arrest. Daniel Haworth, who suffered a brain injury and a fractured skull due to the arrest, was the subject of a break-in investigation in the spring of 2015. Haworth, who similar to Addai was handcuffed at the time, was punched from behind and eventually thrown to the ground.

In Alberta, police officers facing disciplinary charges can maintain a clean record if they haven’t been charged and convicted criminally. It is one of the only jurisdictions in Canada where this is possible

Addai’s lawyer, Tom Engel, called it a “loophole” and said that he has seen it before, notably in the case of Tony Stiles.

“It’s a loophole,” said Engel.

“You can’t do this in any other profession.”

If an engineer, doctor, or even a lawyer was under investigation for misconduct, they couldn’t just quit to make things disappear, added Engel.

A necessary change is coming

The news of Linday’s resignation came as a special meeting between the Calgary Police and Calgary city council was underway. Chief Neufeld said that the police need to review and change their policies, especially around use of force.

“We recognize that the use of force is an important issue,” he said.

Engel said there’s little to stop police in use of force situations.

“There’s really very little deterrence to police officers and using excessive force,” said Engel. He agreed with Neufeld that the use of force rule needs to be reviewed.

After Thursday’s session, when asked if Lindsay would be charged, Neufeld responded by saying “not under those charges.”

Attempts to contact the Calgary Police Association were eventually answered but no one was available for comment at that time.