Ottawa

12th Ottawa police officer charged in 'ghost warning' probe begins trial

An Ottawa police officer charged in the force’s “ghost warning” scandal began his police disciplinary hearing Tuesday, more than four and a half years after he was first charged with misconduct.

Const. Andrew Badeen charged with discreditable conduct, insubordination, deceit

Const. Andrew Badeen has pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct and one count each insubordination under the Police Services Act, but not guilty to one count of deceit. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

An Ottawa police officer charged in the force's "ghost warning" scandal began his police disciplinary hearing Tuesday, more than four and a half years after he was first charged with misconduct.

Const. Andrew Badeen pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct and one count of insubordination under the Police Services Act, but also pleaded not guilty to one count of deceit.

Badeen was the 12th Ottawa police officer charged in what was at the time a sweeping investigation into police officers who were issuing fake traffic warnings to real drivers. His is the only case that remains outstanding for the service.

Ottawa police professional standards investigator Sgt. Mireille Clement testified Tuesday that Badeen issued warnings to six different people in six different interactions in 2015 without informing them he was doing so.

Probe began in 2015

The investigation began in 2015, after two whistle-blowing traffic officers became increasingly concerned with how one colleague was topping the traffic unit's internal statistics. One of those officers found printed warnings that had never been delivered to drivers in Const. Edward Ellis's cruiser, and sent them up the chain of command.

That sparked an Ottawa police audit of all traffic warnings issued by officers. It resulted in two temporary officer suspensions and 11 temporary officer demotions. All of the other officers charged in the probe were ultimately found guilty of misconduct.

Traffic warnings carry no fines or penalties, but are used by police to correct or alter a driver's behaviour before laying charges. 

Officer blamed 'peer pressure'

Each officer's motivation was not explicitly detailed in their guilty pleas, but Ellis, believed by the force to be the worst offender, told misconduct investigators it was "peer pressure" and a toxic internal culture obsessed with boosting stats that contributed to the behaviour.

Badeen was charged in 2017 after the police board in 2016 granted an extension for the police service to investigate him.

Badeen was never suspended but is not currently on active duty. He is representing himself at the hearing.

The hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shaamini Yogaretnam

CBC Ottawa reporter

Shaamini Yogaretnam is CBC Ottawa's justice, crime and police reporter. She has spent nearly a decade covering crime in the nation's capital. You can reach her at shaamini.yogaretnam@cbc.ca or 613-220-2486. You can find her on Twitter at @shaaminiwhy

now