Ottawa

Ottawa police officer pleads guilty to smashing truck of man seen kissing his wife

An Ottawa police officer has admitted to taking a metal pole to a pickup truck owned by his wife's lover after finding the two kissing and embracing near a sports dome in Carp.

Incident occurred in March near sports dome in Carp

Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin Street in April 2021. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

An Ottawa police officer has admitted to taking a metal pole to a pickup truck owned by his wife's lover after finding the two kissing and embracing near a sports dome in Carp.

On Friday, Const. Ken Bruce pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act for smashing the man's truck.

According to an agreed statement of facts read out by police prosecutor Shawn Cleroux, Bruce was at home and off duty the day of the altercation.

In January, Bruce was injured and suffered a concussion. He had been working light duties and modified hours while recovering.

On March 25, his wife said she was leaving the house to do some shopping. Bruce would later tell misconduct investigators that he thought she was acting differently. 

Bruce used an app to track her car to the area of a sports dome on Westbrook Road in Carp, which was nowhere near a store, Cleroux told the hearing. Bruce twice tried calling his wife, but both calls went unanswered. Bruce decided to drive to the area.

He found his wife's vehicle parked next to a pickup truck and "witnessed his spouse kissing and embracing" a man identified only as G.A.

Officer became 'emotional and upset'

"Const. Bruce became very emotional and upset and drove up to the two vehicles and proceeded to retrieve a metal pole from his vehicle," Cleroux said.

At the time, Bruce was carting around items that were meant to be donated, including a floor fan with a metal pole.

He then "willfully proceeded to strike the vehicle of G.A. with the metal pole, breaking the driver's side window and the passenger's side window," Cleroux said.

The other windows were scratched but not broken. Both tail lights were damaged, too. In total, the damage to the pickup truck was estimated to be worth $1,460.

Bruce was yelling at the time but he had no physical contact with either his wife or the man she was with, Cleroux said.

He returned to his own vehicle, left the scene and reported the incident to his police supervisor immediately after.

Police launched a criminal investigation but ultimately laid no charges since the man Bruce's wife was with wasn't a willing complainant.

Joint submission on penalty

"A sworn member of the OPS willfully damaging someone's vehicle is unacceptable and contrary to the officer's oath to prevent offences," Cleroux told the hearing.

Cleroux said even though Bruce was off duty at the time, the incident occurred in public and prompted his fellow officers to respond to the call. He said the high standard to which police officers are held continues to apply even when they're off duty.

"The Ottawa Police Service does not condone Const. Bruce's behaviour," he said.

Cleroux said both the service and the defence are asking that Bruce be docked 10 days, or 80 hours, from his time bank.

The proposed penalty will not only serve as a deterrent to Bruce, but also as a reminder to other police officers, he said.

"They have an oath to enforce the law and … failing to do so will draw serious consequences."

Bruce, who has been an Ottawa police officer since August 2004, has no previous history of discipline.

Ottawa Police Association representative Mike Lamothe told the hearing that Bruce took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Lamothe also told the hearing that the publicity of the "personal matter" will impact Bruce's family.

"Given that, he's prepared to move on and you will probably not see him back in a tribunal anytime soon," Lamothe said.

Bruce is scheduled to be sentenced by hearing officer Supt. Isobel Granger in September.

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