Perjury charge dropped against Calgary police union boss

Les Kaminski was originally charged with perjury and assault with a weapon in relation to the 2008 arrest of a Hells Angels member, Jason Arkinstall. Both charges have now been dropped.

Charge against Les Kaminski stemmed from 2008 arrest of Hells Angels member

Calgary Police Association president Les Kaminski was charge with perjury in relation to a 2008 arrest. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

A perjury charge against the president of the Calgary Police Association has been dropped. 

Les Kaminski was originally charged with perjury and assault with a weapon in relation to the 2008 arrest of Jason Arkinstall, a member of the Hells Angels.

The assault charge was dropped last July. 

"My faith in the legal system was reaffirmed today. I know my responsibility to the public and the Calgary Police Service and I would never, nor did I, mislead the court in any way," said Kaminski, reading a prepared statement in the lobby of the Calgary Courts Centre. 

Kaminski's lawyer, Alain Hepner, said there was a "great deal of dialogue" with prosecutors leading to Monday's withdrawal of charges.

Arrest and trial

The perjury charge was laid after Arkinstall was acquitted on charges of uttering a threat to kill a police officer. 

Provincial Court Judge Terry Semenuk rejected the evidence of Kaminski and two other officers who testified during the trial.

Semenuk wrote that Kaminski wavered in his evidence under cross-examination and didn't take proper notes after the incident. 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.

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who sat for several years on the Calgary police commission, tweeted support for Kaminski soon after the decision was handed down. 

Police association vice-president Mike Baker also tweeted support for Kaminski, which read, "Glad to see this charge finally withdrawn. This ordeal has gone on for nearly a decade and put numerous officers through unnecessary duress. This is just another example of cops being treated unfairly, by a process that is biased against them!"

Body cams

Kaminski said his memory of the event differed from the video evidence and said he has made roughly 6,000 arrests in his career.

"I learned that notes are a very important, very important, part of police work. I'm going to push the service for body cams. That will take some of that initiative off of the police officers to take perfect notes because a lot of the evidence will be captured on body cameras."

Arkinstall's arrest and its aftermath are still the subject of a Law Enforcement Review Board inquiry that will examine whether there were "any efforts to hinder public oversight of officers" involved in the arrest. 

Const. Brant Derrick, who was also charged with assault in relation to the arrest, was acquitted in December 2017.

With files from Colleen Underwood and Meghan Grant