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'Audacity and arrogance': Police association head calls for Madu's resignation over ticket controversy

The head of Edmonton’s police association says Kaycee Madu is unfit to be justice minister because he called the police chief after receiving a distracted driving ticket. 

Alberta justice minister has been asked to step back from ministerial duties

Sgt. Michael Elliott of the Edmonton Police Association says there are complaint processes for legitimate issues. (CBC)

The head of Edmonton's police association says Kaycee Madu is unfit to be justice minister because he called the city's police chief after receiving a distracted driving ticket. 

"The audacity and arrogance is very clear and you are not deserving to be the Minister of Justice who is supposed to represent all citizens in a fair and impartial manner," Sgt. Mike Elliott, president of the Edmonton Police Association wrote on Twitter. 

Earlier this week, CBC News first reported that Madu had called Edmonton's police chief to talk about a traffic ticket, after he was fined $300 for distracted driving in a school zone last March. 

Premier Jason Kenney asked Madu to take a leave of absence from his ministerial duties until an independent investigation can be completed into those revelations. For the time being, he is a minister without portfolio or responsibility.

"I'm dumbfounded to know that the minister has the audacity to think it's appropriate to call the chief directly. It's over the line on so many levels," Elliott said in an interview. 

The ticket issued to Madu, obtained by CBC News, alleges he was on his cellphone, but the minister denies that assertion. 

Both Madu and Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee confirmed the phone call about the ticket took place, but say there was never a request to have the fine quashed.

"Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time," Madu said in a statement Monday. 

"Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word."

In that statement Madu also said he regrets raising the ticket with McFee.

If the minister had legitimate concerns about racial profiling or politically-motivated surveillance, Elliott says there are other avenues to escalate those issues appropriately — and he's concerned about the consequences this incident will have on the relationship between law enforcement and the government. 

"He took it upon himself to circumvent the proper channels and contact the chief directly, which is totally inappropriate, which is in essence, why he should not remain as minister of justice."

The Edmonton Police Commission told CBC News that the chair was advised of the call by McFee, and in their eyes his response was appropriate.

In a late-night post on Twitter Tuesday night, Madu also added new information. 

He says he identified himself to the officer during the traffic stop. He also says he wanted to tell the chief about his own personal experiences with racial profiling. 

Elliott said he considers the officer who issued the ticket a man of integrity, and also acknowledged there are legitimate conversations to be had about inappropriate behaviour or targeting in policing. CBC News has reached out to the constable who ticketed Madu for comment, but has not heard back.

"We all make errors or omissions or mistakes because we're all human ... But I want [Madu] to learn from this and acknowledge what he did was incorrect," Elliott concluded. 

"Step aside, acknowledge it and then learn from it and carry on."

CBC News has attempted to get updated information from the premier's office but has not received a response in more than 24 hours. 

With files from Janice Johnston

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