Police drop investigation as story of racist death threats against Calgary trustee candidate unravels
A Facebook account posted threats against Nimra Amjad in August, but it appears the wrong person was blamed
The man whose name and photo were connected to online racist death threats against a Calgary school board trustee candidate says not only did he not do it, but he dated the woman he's accused of targeting.
Now, Calgary police confirm their hate crimes unit is no longer investigating the comments Shawn Street allegedly made to Ward 3 and 4 school trustee candidate Nimra Amjad back in August.
"I did not do this, I had nothing to do with this in any way shape or form," said Street, who was fired from his job following the media attention and public outrage around the story.
Street says he was told by Calgary police that Amjad was uncooperative with their investigation, refusing to provide a statement and failing to return the investigator's phone calls.
Police wouldn't go that far, but did say when the investigator asked Amjad for further information, it "was not immediately provided and the complaint was then withdrawn."
"Investigators are respecting the wishes of the complainant and the case has now been closed," said CPS in a written statement.
An email chain forwarded to CBC News by Amjad shows the lead investigator, Cst. Craig Collins growing impatient with the alleged victim.
The day after she cancelled a meeting with him 20 minutes before it was supposed to take place, Collins tells Amjad that he has "spent a considerable amount of time and effort in conducting this investigation, which the Calgary Police Service takes very seriously."
"I note that you have utilized the media in regard to this incident …This investigation is reaching Day 6, and you have not provided any formal statement to the police, despite numerous attempts by the police to obtain your statement."
Amjad's story changes
In an interview with CBC News, Amjad changed her story numerous times.
She initially denied ever meeting or knowing Street, but by the end of an hour-long conversation she confirmed she'd met Street online and had gone on several dates with him.
Amjad also claimed he used the name "John," though Street says he always used his real name with her.
"He just told me his name was John, at some point he said S-E-A-N," she spelled out. "[He said] 'some people in my family call me S-E-A-N' ... I never met a person who claims to be Shawn Street."
Street — who just learned this week police are no longer investigating — says he now plans to file his own complaint in hopes of identifying the person who used his identity to post the hateful messages.
Amjad says she absolutely did not create the Facebook account and make the posts.
She says the attention was a "setback" to her campaign and that she didn't want to be portrayed as a victim.
Street's account appears to be cloned
The account used to post the threats — which has since been deleted — appeared to be a clone of Street's Facebook page.
His original page is active and he has about 1,000 friends. The account which posted the messages used Street's name and photo, was created just months earlier and had no activity until a couple of days prior to the threats.
One post threatened that the neo-Nazi group Aryan Guard would find out where Amjad lived and told her to "beware."
Another post read: "You will be lying dead on the street like Heather Heyer," in reference to the woman killed when a car plowed into anti-fascist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this summer.
Street was fired over allegations
What doesn't make sense is; if Shawn Street was brazen enough to use his own name and photo, why would he start a second account to make the threats?
Street says he was "mortified" when he first learned his name was connected to the hateful, potentially criminal online posts. He went to Calgary police right away.
"I told them everything, I told them right from the beginning how we met; dinner, lunches, everything," said Street.
The day Street's name hit the news, he says he was called into his boss' office and fired from his job with an aircraft leasing company. He also says he had a panic attack and took himself to the hospital.
Amjad initially denied ever meeting Street or even recognizing his name or the photo from the Facebook account. After CBC confronted Amjad with evidence of text messages between her and Street — who provided the text history to CBC — she slowly began to concede much of Street's story was true.
'We never met in person'
First she said she'd never met him but "only had text message contact" with Street.
"I've never dated the guy, I've been seeing someone for a really long time," she said at first. "We never met in person."
Then Amjad said she may have met Street in a dark bar once, which is why she didn't initially recognize him.
Amjad flat-out denied ever being in Banff with Street, but was then told CBC News had evidence of a reference she made in a text message to being in the mountain town together.
At first, she said she'd been there with several people and couldn't remember if he was one of them, but eventually confirmed she had been there with Street.
Initially, Amjad denied meeting Street on the specific dating website he claimed to have used but later said it was true. She claimed that she was only on it to help her friend who was doing a sociological study.
When Amjad was asked why she did not pursue her complaint, she originally said investigators had attempted to talk her out of it. Eventually she said police "might be mad that I'm being uncooperative" but said it was because she was busy with her campaign.
Relationship 'waned off'
Amjad also says she decided not to pursue the complaint against the person who posted the racist comments because she wanted to take "a compassionate approach."
She also wants to make it clear that she did not initially want to make a formal complaint, rather she says it was friends and supporters who pressured her to go to police.
Both Street and Amjad confirm their relationship just kind of petered out; there was no drama, no big fight, no bad blood.
"It just waned off," said Street. "The communication just slowed to a halt."
As for whether Street is racist: "I'm not that kind of person. Never have been, never will be."
"I don't have a racist bone in my body," he said.