Mountie cleared of wrongdoing in 2019 arrest of Fort McMurray doctor

While there was no criminal intent found, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) scolded the behaviour of both the officer and the man.

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Alberta’s police watchdog has cleared a Fort McMurray police officer of any wrongdoing after a local physician was injured during an arrest, according to a report published Friday. While there was no criminal intent found, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) scolded the behaviour of both parties.

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the incident began around 11 p.m. in December 2019. A man was driving to the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre to help with an urgent procedure. A checkpoint on Highway 63 caused a lineup, prompting him to drive around the stop. A police officer told the driver to stop, which he did.

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The man claims he told the officer he was a doctor responding to an emergency. The officer claims the man only said he needed to go to the hospital for an emergency. The man claims he started driving because he heard the officer say “OK.” The officer denies saying this.

The officer was still standing close to the vehicle when the man started driving, nearly running over the officer’s foot. The officer yelled to stop and leave the vehicle, which the driver did. The two yelled at each other and the driver was arrested. During the arrest, the officer inadvertently closed the vehicle’s door on the driver’s elbow, causing nerve damage, pain, and a six-week work absence that needed medical attention.

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The man was charged with assaulting and obstructing an officer, resisting arrest and dangerous operation of a conveyance. The man pled guilty in February 2021 to a lesser driving offence and paid a fine. Criminal charges were withdrawn.

ASIRT’s report says the officer was “careless when he closed the door, but not willfully blind.” Both the officer and driver were angry and “could have taken more care in dealing with each other.” However, the officer “committed no criminal offences in his actions.” Both parties confirm there was no violence during the arrest.

It also notes the man may have said he was a doctor going to an emergency and the officer may not have heard it. The report also says the officer may have said “OK” but did not mean the physician was free to leave.

The report also concludes the physician was lawfully detained. It says the man and other officers confirmed where the officer was standing when he started driving. The man also plead guilty to a traffic offence, which ASIRT says acknowledges some wrongdoing in his driving.

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