CALGARY – A unit that reviews police actions in Alberta is alleging that officers broke a man’s ribs and caused his lung to collapse and lied about him resisting arrest.
Susan Hughson of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team announced Wednesday that three Calgary constables are facing criminal charges that include assault causing bodily harm.
Clayton Prince, 34, was chased by police after he ran away from a traffic stop on July 30. He was charged with resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
ASIRT began investigating a month later when video from a police dashboard camera contradicted officer accounts of the arrest.
“After Mr. Prince had surrendered to police and was lying prone on the ground on his stomach, with his hands behind his head, it is alleged that the named officers committed an assault upon Mr. Prince, both before and after he was handcuffed,” Hughson said at a news conference.
“Mr. Prince sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a facial laceration and significant bruising.”
Hughson said the assault continued after Prince, handcuffed by that time, was put in the back of a police vehicle, where an officer dug the point of a key into the man’s neck “resulting in an injury that became infected and required additional treatment.”
The charges against Prince, who agreed to have his name released by ASIRT, were stayed in September.
Hughson pointed out that Prince had not reported the assault nor made any complaint at the time her agency became involved. He had photographed his injuries, however, and, when asked, provided a statement to ASIRT that she called detailed and compelling.
Constables Mike Sandalack, Kevin Humfrey and James Othen each face a charge of assault causing bodily harm.
Othen and Humphrey also face charges of public mischief for allegedly making false statements.
Othen faces an additional charge of assault with a weapon — the key.
A fourth officer present that night was not charged and is to act as a witness. Hughson said that doesn’t preclude his facing police disciplinary proceedings.
Hughson, ASIRT’s executive director, said she feels the public mischief charges are the most serious.
“When you have an officer alleging that somebody has committed an offence, and having someone charged, this is in my opinion one of the more serious cases ASIRT has dealt with.”
She also urged people to remember that it was good police work that uncovered inconsistencies about the arrest.
“These alleged offences only came to light as a result of the diligence of members of (the Calgary Police Service) who, in the course of a review of the incident, came upon video evidence that potentially gave rise to significant and disturbing conduct, as well as inconsistencies with the earlier provided information, and reported it to their supervisors.”
All three officers have been brought before a justice of the peace and were released on their own recognizance with conditions.