Calgary man frustrated with wait on police complaint

A Calgary man wants to know why it has taken 16 months to deal with a complaint he launched against two Calgary police officers.

Calgary police say it is not unusual for investigations to take months or years to complete

A Calgary man has waited 16 months for a response to his complaint against police. 2:01

A Calgary man wants to know why it has taken more than 16 months to deal with a complaint he launched against two Calgary police officers.

Adrian Anderson filed a complaint in May 2011 after he says he was inappropriately assaulted by a constable.

The police officer "literally grabbed his pepper spray while I was handcuffed, face down and pepper sprayed me in my face," Anderson told CBC News. 

He says police attacked him while he was breaking up a party at his neighbour’s home in the spring of 2011. His neighbours had asked him to keep an eye on their daughter's party while they were out of town.

The 41-year-old admits he resisted officers, saying he kicked and screamed after being put in handcuffs.

"I’m screaming: ‘I’m not going to let this rest because this is not right’" he said.

"He didn’t like that.... I threatened to take it up the chain of command."

Anderson says his threat prompted the officer to pepper spray him. 

He says it is frustrating that he is still waiting to hear what the police have to say about what happened that night.

Police never arrested Anderson that night. After being handcuffed, pepper sprayed and held in the back of a police cruiser, police let Anderson go.     

He said his 39-year-old wife was also restrained by police.

More than 1,000 complaints a year 

Superintendent Kevan Stuart, who oversees the professional standards section, says he can't comment because the matter remains under investigation. 

He says it's not at all unusual for matters to take months or years to complete.

"It's pretty consistent," says Stuart.

"Every allegation is treated seriously. There are several layers of oversight and the test of oversight has to be met." 

Any investigation longer than six months needs the approval of the Calgary Police Commission, a civilian oversight agency.

Stuart says 36 officers investigate public complaints and concerns about police conduct — and the Calgary Police Service gets more than 1,000 of those every year.

Anderson says the incident — and long wait for answers — shook his confidence in the police.        

"This entire event has altered my feelings where now I don’t want to call the police. I don’t want to deal with them for anything because my trust in their actions is horrible," he said. 

With files from CBC's Scott Dippel