Calgary Police Association president under criminal investigation
Les Kaminski is being investigated under allegations of assault causing bodily harm and perjury
The new president of the Calgary Police Association, Les Kaminski — who has spoken out against naming officers charged criminally — potentially faces criminal charges himself, CBC News has learned.
Kaminski is under investigation over allegations of perjury, uttering false documents, obstruction of justice, assault causing bodily harm and bringing false charges.
The allegations are all tied to a case involving a man who was acquitted — in part because the judge did not believe Kaminski was credible or reliable, according to CBC sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has concluded its part of the investigation into Kaminski and the case is now in the hands of Crown prosecutors who will decide whether to lay charges.
In an interview with CBC News on Wednesday, Kaminski said he is "confident" he will not be charged.
"In 2008, I had dealings with a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels from British Columbia. That has resulted in an investigation and it's still before the courts. I just want the facts to come out," Kaminski told CBC News.
"I have an impeccable 30-year career. My record is unstained. I would never jeopardize that career by doing something untoward."
Kaminski 'not a credible or reliable witness,' judge wrote
In 2011, Jason Cyrus Arkinstall was acquitted of uttering a threat to kill a police officer after Provincial Court Judge Terry Semenuk rejected the evidence of Kaminski and two other officers who testified at trial.
Semenuk wrote that Kaminski wavered in his evidence under cross-examination and didn't take proper notes. The judge also wrote that video taken by bystanders contradicted the officer's testimony.
"[Kaminski] was not a credible or reliable witness," wrote Semenuk in his decision.
During a 2008 traffic stop, Kaminski and other officers arrested Arkinstall. They believed at the time — though it was not true — that Arkinstall was under court-ordered conditions not to leave the province of British Columbia or consume alcohol.
Initially, Arkinstall refused to get out of the vehicle he had been travelling in. Once he did, he opened the door and put his arms up.
Kaminski beat man with baton
"Kaminski grabbed the accused by the arms and threw him like a rag-doll, face first, on to the hood of the Tahoe," said Semenuk in his decision.
"While pulling his arms forcefully behind his back to handcuff him, the accused complained about a shoulder injury and that he was in pain. Kaminski responded by striking the accused forcefully with the baton twice on the back of his neck."
Kaminski has testified at other trials while under investigation, potentially putting those cases in jeopardy of stay applications.
Typically, Crown prosecutors are obligated to disclose findings like Semenuk's that are critical of officers' credibility.
Police Chief Roger Chaffin was selected by the police commission based on his commitment to transparency and accountability.
As part of that promise, Chaffin named several officers who were charged with crimes in the past year, a practice Kaminski has recently spoken out against.
During his campaign to lead the Calgary Police Association, Kaminski also told police members that he would control the media better than his predecessor if he was voted in as president.
'There's a known anti-police sentiment': Kaminski says
News that Kaminski was under investigation surfaced on the same day that he was holding a Calgary Police Association news conference.
It has been unusual in the past for the Calgary Police Association (CPA) to hold news conferences but Kaminski, who was elected as its president in November, said he intends to change that.
"I won the election on the platform that I'd provide a voice," he said.
At the news conference, he said Calgary officers are being put in situations where they have to decide whether to shoot somebody "far too frequently."
Kaminski said officers are as worried about the spike in shootings as anyone else and want to see a change in deployment strategies so they end up high-risk situations less often.
Kaminski says he is disappointed that news of the investigation is being published on the same day as the news conference.
"There's a known anti-police sentiment. There's people that want to see us fail for whatever reason," said Kaminski.
With files from Bryan Labby