Saskatoon

Crown drops aggravated assault charge against former constable fired by Saskatoon Police

Saskatchewan Crown prosecutors have withdrawn an aggravated assault charge against a man who was fired from the Saskatoon Police Service last summer.

A separate common assault charge against Jarett Gelowitz has been stayed

A separate common assault charge against Jarett Gelowitz has been stayed while the outcome of a trial concerning a third incident is expected later this month. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Saskatchewan Crown prosecutors have withdrawn an aggravated assault charge against a man who was fired from the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) last summer.

Jarett Gelowitz, 32, formerly a constable with SPS, was charged in connection with an April 2017 arrest he was involved in.

According to a 2017 news release from the police force, Gelowitz and other officers were pursuing two men who had evaded police in a stolen vehicle. The two men were taken into custody, with police initially believing the men had only received minor injuries. 

"However, it was found that injuries to the driver were more serious than thought," according to the release.

SPS's major crimes unit investigated the arrest, with Crown prosecutors ultimately recommending an aggravated assault charge.

On Thursday morning, after a preliminary hearing earlier in the week, the charge against Gelowitz was withdrawn.

Saskatchewan's Crown prosecutor's office said it couldn't comment on the decision. 

Deemed unsuitable for duty

Gelowitz was fired from the police force in August 2018 after being called "unsuitable for police service." At the time, Gelowitz was also facing a common assault charge stemming from an earlier arrest incident in January 2017. That charge has now been stayed.

A third assault charge against Gelowitz, stemming from the arrest of a high-speed chase suspect in November 2016, was the subject of Court of Queen's Bench trial this past May. 

"This is happening in a matter of seconds. It was simply reactive," Gelowitz testified during the trial. 

The judge on that case is expected to issue his decision at the end of this month. 

Some of the facts in Gelowitz's case were not in dispute. Both sides agreed he was involved in a lengthy high-speed chase through the streets of Saskatoon, where speeds reached 160 kilometres per hour, in December 2016.

Both sides also agreed violence was used in arresting Bear and that it was Gelowitz who delivered a series of punches, kicks and knee strikes.

Whether Gelowitz' actions constituted assault remained a point of disagreement, however.

'It makes them uncertain of their futures'

Dean Pringle, the president of the Saskatoon Police Association — the union for Saskatoon police officers — took to Twitter Thursday to question how the police force handled Gelowitz's file.

"So the officer who was fired without a police act hearing has now had two of the three assault charges against him withdrawn," Pringle wrote. "Perhaps he should've been suspended with pay while these 'charges' worked their way through the courts."

Pringle wrote that the situation is troubling to officers.

"They now know that all it takes is simply an unproven allegation to ruin your life and career. Innocent until proven guilty, or actually, guilty until proven innocent?"

CBC News reached out to the Saskatoon Police Service for comment.

"It would be inappropriate for us to offer a comment as there are still ongoing proceedings," a police spokesperson said. 

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips, ideas, complaints, just want to say 'Hi'? Write me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca