Manitoba

Winnipeg police chief says off-duty officer could face more charges in fatal collision

Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth used his time at Friday morning's police board meeting to acknowledge the charges laid against one of his officers earlier this week and said more could be coming.

Chief Danny Smyth faced police board for first time on Friday since charges laid against off-duty cop

Police chief Danny Smyth addressed the Winnipeg police board at city hall Friday morning for the first time since charges were laid against an off-duty officer in connection with a fatal collision Tuesday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

More charges could be coming for an officer who allegedly drove while impaired and fled after hitting a pedestrian, Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth told the city's civilian police board Friday.

The results of a breathalyzer have not yet been analyzed and could yield the additional criminal charge of driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08, which is 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood, he said. 

Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth doesn't want the charges against one of his officers to reflect poorly on the rest of the police force. 1:53

"They weren't able to do that at the time, is my understanding, so we could see a charge like that being laid down the road," Smyth told reporters after facing the police board at city hall for the first time since charges were laid against the officer.

Off-duty Const. Justin Holz was charged with impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene, after he allegedly struck and killed pedestrian Cody Severight on Main Street Tuesday evening and left the scene.

The province's Independent Investigation Unit, which looks into all serious incidents involving police officers in Manitoba, is leading an investigation into the incident.

Smyth told the board that 34-year-old constable Justin Holz could face more charges once the investigation is complete. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Smyth used his time at Friday morning's police board meeting to acknowledge the charges. He said further disciplinary action could be taken once the investigation is complete and may come even before the case goes to court.

He also offered his condolences to the Severight family.

The police chief said future disciplinary action could include dismissal of the officer.

"I have some options available to me depending on the circumstances," Smyth told reporters following the board meeting.

He said every case is dealt with on its own merits and can only be assessed once the investigation is complete.

Holz is currently on administrative leave with pay while the investigation is underway.

"My options would be to continue a member on administrative leave, at the one end of the scale, or I could recommend for a dismissal," said Smyth.

Holz has been released from custody on a promise to appear in court on Nov. 22.