WESTLOCK – Follow-up on a domestic dispute investigation that led to the execution of warrant on a man at a Westlock motel last weekend nearly turned deadly after an RCMP officer discharged their firearm but did not hit anyone.
According to a March 13 RCMP release, around 4 p.m., March 11, Westlock RCMP officers were conducting a follow-up investigation in relation to a domestic dispute and learned the suspect was staying at a local business “had outstanding warrants and was likely in possession of a firearm” — the business in question is the Southview Motel located at 9919 - 100th Street.
The release goes on to note that during the execution of the warrant, an officer discharged their duty pistol, but no one was injured as a result.
“The Alberta RCMP believes in processes that seek the facts and it’s important that processes taken to assess the actions of all those involved, including the police, are fair, transparent, and defendable,” reads a release from Cpl. Gina Slaney, the media relations officer for the Alberta RCMP Southern Alberta District.
Slaney’s release goes on to say that “as soon as we became aware of this incident, we immediately notified the director of law enforcement and initiated our internal review process” — Marlin Degrand is the assistant deputy minister for the public security division of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (JSG) and the director of law enforcement.
And while the release notes Degrand deemed the incident to be ‘in scope’ for the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the investigation has been assigned to the Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch (SCB) who will provide an update “when available” — ASIRT normally investigates events where serious injury or death may have been caused by police and serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
In a March 14 interview, ASIRT executive director Mike Ewenson confirmed they’ll have “no involvement” in this investigation as the Police Act clearly lays out that ASIRT “cannot self-generate an investigation or self deploy.”
“The director of law enforcement has a few options when they deem something ‘in scope.’ One is a full ASIRT deployment at the one extreme, while the other extreme is they can leave it with agency and then sort of in the middle can be things like us reviewing their investigation or imbedding an ASIRT officer into the investigation to provide advice or supervise,” Ewenson explained. “So, there are a few different options for the director of law enforcement and it’s purely their jurisdiction and at their discretion.”
The SCB, which according to its website is responsible to “lead or support investigations throughout the province”, has many investigative units and support units which provide expertise on homicides, serious persons' crimes, child abuse, multi-jurisdictional offences, complex investigations and investigations making use of advanced investigative techniques.
“Independent of ASIRT, the Alberta RCMP’s internal review process has been implemented to gather a full account of what took place during this incident,” Slaney’s release goes on to state.