A criminologist with Mount Royal University in Calgary is questioning why a Mountie facing criminal charges was working on the streets during the violent arrest of a prominent First Nations chief.
Charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer were dropped Wednesday against Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
But it was revealed the same day that one of the officers involved in the arrest, which was captured by a police dash-camera, is to go to trial in September for an off-duty assault.
“It’s ridiculous that a government employee who is tasked with enforcing the law is on active duty if they themselves are in court for serious offences,” said Kelly Sundberg, an associate professor in the department of economics, justice and policy studies.
“It makes no sense.”
Const. Simon Seguin has been charged with assault, mischief and unlawfully being in a dwelling house in Fort McMurray on Aug. 5, 2019.
Alberta RCMP has confirmed it was aware of the charges.
“His duty status would have been the result of an assessment made by his managers,” spokesman Fraser Logan said in a statement. “Const. Seguin remains on active duty.”
He said an internal investigation after the charges determined Seguin could remain on the job, although he noted that would likely be reviewed after the trial.
None of the allegations against Seguin have been proven in court.
Adam, who was left bruised and bloodied during the arrest, said he was shocked to learn that the officer who tackled him to the ground and punched him in the head was facing charges from an earlier assault.
“It is very concerning,” he said earlier this week. “To them, it’s acceptable.”
Sundberg said Thursday that the officer’s status should be a major concern to everyone.
“The RCMP should be embarrassed,” he said. “I find it reprehensible that an individual who is before the courts is still on active duty.”
He said the case highlights the institutional shortcomings of the RCMP.
“Put him on paid leave, don’t have him working, don’t have him doing patrol,” suggested Sundberg. “He should not be allowed to interact with the public in an enforcement role.
“Don’t be in a police car with a gun strapped to you … that’s absurd.”
Sundberg said he’s also concerned that the RCMP didn’t publicly revealed the charges, noting it’s important police are objective, transparent and accountable to maintain public trust.
The RCMP said it is looking into why the charges against the officer were never publicly revealed.
“We are known for being very transparent with releasing information when our members are charged with a criminal offence,” said Logan.
“We are reviewing this internally as to why these charges weren’t followed-up properly for a public release and do not have an answer … but this is certainly not our common process.”
Seguin’s trial is set for Sept. 30 in Fort McMurray provincial court.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 25, 2020
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press