An Edmonton police officer is still on the job even though a disciplinary hearing found he punched and tried to strangle his fiance during a trip to Mexico last year.
Const. David McCracken was found guilty of discreditable conduct under the Alberta Police Service Act last month.
While hearing officer Supt. Mark Logar wrote that “spousal violence is a serious offence” and the complainant’s swelling and bruising were “significant”, McCracken didn’t lose his job.
The seven-year police veteran was suspended without pay for 50 hours, with amounts taken off in ten-hour increments per pay period.
McCracken was also directed to contact the human resources division of Edmonton Police within two months and “take any assessment or treatment as directed.”
The ruling puzzles Jackie Foord, CEO of the Edmonton YWCA. She says the penalty seems to reflect a double standard.
“They spend a lot of resources trying to combat this problem. Yet within their own force, it doesn't seem to fit the crime,” she said. “It really doesn't.”
Edmonton Police said that no further investigation is required and the matter is closed.
“Although the presiding officer preferred the evidence of the complainant over the subject officer there is no indication that the subject officer was deceitful in the Disciplinary Hearing,” EPS spokeswoman Anna Batchelor said in an email to CBC News.
“The event which gave rise to this complaint occurred outside of Canada. While there are exceptions, an alleged illegal act committed outside of Canada is generally not subject to our laws. The facts related to this matter would not make it an exception.”
Constable made death threat, former fiance testified
The hearing was told that the assault took place at a hotel in Cabo San Lucas in April 2013.
The couple started to argue on the way back to their room.
The complainant, who is no longer engaged to McCracken, tried to disengage from the argument and headed to the bathroom to get ready for bed.
She said McCracken blocked the door, grabbed her hair and started punching her in the face and chest.
The constable then said he was going to kill her and lunged at her on the bed. She tried to push him away with her feet but he was able to climb on top of her.
“I was screaming up until the point that he put his hands around my throat and then I couldn’t even make a noise after that because it was so tight,” she testified.
McCracken was seven inches taller than her and weighed nearly 200 pounds. She told the hearing that she somehow kicked him in the crotch. He got up off the bed and she was able to run to a friend’s hotel room.
The friend took pictures of the woman’s injuries, which included bruising on her face, neck and chest.
McCracken testified at the hearing. In his version of events, the woman started the altercation by punching him twice on the side of the face.
He said he grabbed her and then “cuffed her on the left”. She kept swinging so he grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the bed. He said she kicked him in the crotch, the ribs and in the head.
In his decision, Logar said that he believed the complainant’s version of events, and called them “clear, coherent and internally consistent.”
Logar did not find McCracken to be as believable and ruled that the force he used was excessive and “not defensible in facts or law.”