ALBERTA

Derek Huff Allegations: Edmonton Police Chief Taking Former Officer's Brutality Accusations Seriously

10/01/2013 04:12 EDT

Edmonton's police chief says his staff are taking recent accusations of corruption and brutality among the force very seriously and promises to deal with the fallout.

Former police officer Derek Huff told CBC News this week he was witness to police brutality in 2010, but when he tried to report the incident the force ostracized him while covering up the actions of the officers involved.

Huff told CBC he and his partner went to their sergeant after having watched three plainclothes colleagues, lead by Const. Jack Redlick, beat a handcuffed man, unprovoked, while he was down.

Huff said their sergeant dismissed their claims, saying the actions were justified based on submitted reports, and subsequently the pair were mocked, shunned and ignored by fellow officers.

The incident has been in the hands of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates police actions which result in serious harm or death, and is currently being reviewed by the executive director and the Crown.

So while the Edmonton Police Association, the union representing the Edmonton police, has refused to comment on the matter, because it involves both Huff and Redlick, Police Chief Rod Knecht assured CBC News the force is taking the matter very seriously.

“Obviously it’s intolerable behaviour. We don’t accept that as tolerable behaviour at all. An officer committing a criminal act — or act against the Police Act — we won’t tolerate that in this organization and we’ll deal with it.”

Knecht told the Edmonton Sun the allegations are "of a very serious nature," and that an initial investigation by the EPS Professional Standards Branch was dropped after the police chief at the time determined, based on the available evidence, that a conviction would be unlikely.

However, said Knecht, Huff brough with him new evidence in 2012, which led to the ASIRT investigation.

Knecht also told the Sun the case was never kept quiet, as Huff claims, adding that ASIRT will disclose their findings when an outcome has been determined.

When assigned to the role in 2011, Knecht promised to protect whistleblowers – and says he maintains that position.

"We have taken a series of systematic steps to ensure that people can come forward without fear of retaliation and that those that act inappropriately are held to account," he told the Sun.

“Obviously if the good cop goes and the bad cop stays, that’s not a good thing,” Knecht told CBC Edmonton.

However, he told CBC things "absolutely" could have been done differently in this case.

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