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Lethbridge Police Commission Calls for Investigation into Alleged Threats Against MLA and CBC Journalist

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The Lethbridge Police Commission has rejected a call for a public inquiry into allegations that members of the Lethbridge Police Service threatened retaliation against NDP MLA Shannon Phillips and CBC journalist Meghan Grant for exposing misconduct within the force.

Rob vanSpronsen, chairman of the commission, said in a statement that the circumstances surrounding the request were “problematic”.

“Not only do anonymous communications lack specific information that conclusively confirms that they come from the LPS[Lethbridge Police Service]employees, the claims contained in them lack any essential supporting details “, wrote vanSpronsen.

Michael Bates, a defense attorney in Calgary, called for a public inquiry in September. He represents Phillips and a woman who accused a retired LPS inspector of sexual assault, who both received anonymous signaling letters in June.

The alleged threats follow Phillips’ revelations earlier this year that police monitored her during her time as PHD environment minister.

Service members took secret photographs of her meeting with voters at a restaurant in 2017. A subsequent request for freedom of information revealed that people working for the service requested eight times a police database for her name, without any purpose investigative.

Phillips is also seeking more serious consequences for members who have pursued it without authorization.

In Lethbridge on Monday, Phillips said the serious nature of the threats of retaliation against her deserved an investigation under the Police Act.

“While I am not surprised by the Lethbridge Police Commission’s startling incompetence, I have learned to live with this sense of fundamental insecurity in my home and my community, and I will consider my options accordingly,” she told a. unrelated media events.

She said that if police morale is so low that whistleblowers are leaking information, the police chief and the commission also have a problem.

A host of internal problems

The commission statement said its members took into account the nature of the allegations, anonymity, suggestions for an unsafe work environment and the potential cost and benefit of conducting an investigation.

The commission urged Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh to ensure that all employees are aware of the protection of whistleblowers and the respectable workplace policies already in place.

The force has had other controversies. Three officers pleaded guilty to misconduct and two others plan to retire for their roles in circulating inappropriate memes of police chiefs.

Another woman also pushed for an investigation, says a retired inspector sexually assaulted her while he was still at work.

Earlier this year, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu threatened to disband the force if they could not present a plan for substantial improvements.

Madu did not receive questions from reporters in the legislature on Monday. His office has not yet responded to written questions.

NDP leader Rachel Notley says Phillips is likely to explore all official avenues of appeal. If they are exhausted, Notley may ask the minister to intervene.

“The idea of ​​having some kind of political activity in relation to an elected official is deeply troubling and we know it needs to be resolved,” she said. “He can not be allowed to stay.”

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2/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/lethbridge-police-commission-nixes-call-for-inquiry-into-alleged-threats-against-mla-and-cbc-reporter-1.6258965

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