PEI

'Clear and convincing evidence' Charlottetown cop violated code of conduct during drink spiking investigation

An investigation has found “clear and convincing evidence” of misconduct from a Charlottetown police officer who was tasked with investigating an allegation of drug spiking, the city’s chief says.

'I think what was really missing was a lack of empathy and support for the victim'

A person filed a complaint to P.E.I.'s police commissioner that a Charlottetown police officer did not properly investigate their allegation of administering a drug without consent. (Oleksandra Naumenko/Shutterstock)

An investigation has found "clear and convincing evidence" of misconduct by a Charlottetown police officer who was tasked with investigating an allegation of drink spiking, the city's chief of police says.

However, Brad MacConnell said the officer resigned during the investigation process so no discipline was handed out.

"I reflect on this case and I think what was really missing was a lack of empathy and support for the victim and quite frankly I don't think the officer believed the victim in this case which is quite unfortunate," MacConnell said.

Police would not say exactly when or where the incident took place, only that it was in downtown Charlottetown.

The person said an officer with Charlottetown Police Services didn't investigate their complaint that they been drugged at a local bar. The officer was also accused of using language that humiliated them.

The person made a code-of-conduct complaint to P.E.I. Police Commissioner Cindy Wedge, resulting in an investigation that involved interviews with the complainant, the officer and others involved.

'Code of conduct'

"Police officers have to follow a specific code of conduct and in other words, conduct their business in a certain way," Wedge said. "The allegation was that the police officer involved has failed to do that." 

MacConnell called the situation very disappointing and not reflective of the police force as a whole. 

"I applaud this victim particularly for taking a stance and knowing when the response wasn't good enough." 

The complainant's initial report, that they were given a drug without their knowledge, has since gone to the major crimes unit for investigation.

No charges from original complaint

No charges have been laid.

Kinley Dowling, a P.E.I. musician and advocate for survivors of sexual assault, said she was glad to see the code-of-conduct complaint investigated, though she wished the same attention was given to the drink spiking complaint.

She said it's an opportunity for the police to "do better."

"It really shows like a need for a trauma-informed response from police officers," she said.

"I know that that's a big reason why a lot of people don't come forward, because they know how they might be treated… It can be just as traumatic if you're not taken seriously and if you're not believed and you're ridiculed."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Ross

Journalist

Shane Ross is a journalist with CBC News on Prince Edward Island. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. You can reach him at shane.ross@cbc.ca.

With files from Brittany Spencer

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