Calgary

ASIRT won't release name of suspect in Calgary police shooting

The head of Calgary's police union is criticizing the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team's decision not to release the name of a man who died after allegedly shooting a police officer.

'This is anything but transparent,' says Les Kaminski

ASIRT is not releasing the name of a man who died after allegedly shooting a police officer in the northeast Calgary neighbourhood of Abbeydale. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The head of Calgary's police union is criticizing the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team's decision not to release the name of a man who died after allegedly shooting a police officer.

"ASIRT also preaches transparency. This is anything but transparent. The public has a right to know and it seems quite hypocritical, frankly," Les Kaminski told CBC Calgary on Friday.

On March 27, police were chasing a robbery suspect in the northeast community of Abbeydale when the suspect allegedly began firing shots at officers.

Const. Jordan Forget was shot and suffered multiple injuries, but has since been released from hospital.

The robbery suspect barricaded himself in a garage after the exchange of gunfire. The garage caught fire. After the fire was put out, the suspect was found dead inside. The cause of death has not yet been released.

ASIRT said in a statement that as its investigation is underway, it will not be releasing more information at this time and that its policy is that it generally does not release the names of people who have died as a result of the actions of police. 

The agency's website notes that whether the person's identity is revealed depends on a number of factors, including investigative requirements, the family's position on releasing the name, whether or not the person's name is already public domain and the person's age. 

"We release all the relevant information to allow the public to understand what happened. Knowing the injured or deceased person by name, instead of as 'the affected party' or 'complainant', adds nothing of additional relevance.

"It does, however, add greatly to the public exposure that will be imposed on the injured person or the family of a deceased," reads a joint statement from Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and B.C. civilian oversight agencies.

'He held an entire community hostage'

But Kaminski said it's important to the public interest to release the name. 

"He held an entire community hostage," Kaminski said. "There's massive public interest in this guy because he so blatantly jeopardized public safety."

The police union head argued that if a police officer is charged in the execution of duties, the officer's name is released, as are names of other people accused of crimes.

Les Kaminski is the president of the Calgary police union. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"They don't protect other [people] when they're charged, why are they protecting this guy? He would have been charged with many serious crimes," he said. 

The Justice and Solicitor General also said that the Chief Medical Examiner's office would be unable to release the suspect's name, as it is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, unless consent is given by next-of-kin. 

With files from Elizabeth Snaddon, Meghan Grant

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