CPS won’t face charges in Colton Crowshoe case: ASIRT
Colton Crowshoe was found dead in July 2014 and his family believes the Calgary police mishandled his missing person’s file
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On the eve of the Easter long weekend, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) announced no charges will be laid against any Calgary Police Service (CPS) member in relation to the alleged mishandling of both a person and a missing person’s case from 2014.
The oversight body said in a news release on Thursday no evidence of racial bias, profiling, or mishandling of the Colton Crowshoe’s missing person’s case was found during its investigation, which began in August 2014.
The Crowshoe family alleged CPS failed to take appropriate action when the 18-year-old was reported missing and that the force had failed to properly investigate because of racial bias and profiling, and that Crowshoe had been assaulted by a CPS member during an arrest prior to his disappearance.
Susan Hughson of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said CPS made mistakes, but they were not the result of racism and did not amount to a crime.
"The evidence does not establish reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed by any officer of the Calgary Police Service in relation to this missing person investigation," Hughson said.
"As such, no officer will be charged with respect to this aspect of the investigation."
Hughson also looked at whether police roughed up Crowshoe when he was arrested and whether it amounted to assault.
“Even if the impugned acts and judgments identified did meet the test for establishing conduct required for the offence of breach of trust by a public officer, the evidence does not support a finding that the officers acted with the required intent at the relevant time,” Hughson said.
Crowshoe was last seen alive in the early hours of July 4, 2014 and was reported missing by his family on July 6.
CPS dispatched a patrol car to investigate and opened a missing person’s case at the time, according to the release.
The indigenous man’s body was found on July 24, 2014 in a water retention pond in northeast Calgary. His death was deemed a homicide and the case remains unsolved.
Police records show that Crowshoe was arrested on July 2, 2014 for trespassing and break, enter, and theft in a residential garage.
In 2014, Crowshoe’s family told the media CPS treated the case dismissively and downplayed their version of events regarding the arrest.
The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) ultimately decided the matter would not meet the standard for prosecution, ASIRT said.
Hughson said police have certain protections under the Criminal Code that permit force to be used so long as it is done in the execution of their duties.
"In this case, it is clear that at the time this contact occurred, the officer is in the lawful execution of his duties,” the executive director said.
Hughson said Crowshoe was last seen on video walking away from a police station.
She said he appeared to be in good spirits and, aside from an abrasion to his right temple area, he was uninjured.
In a statement, Calgary Police Service said they were in the process of reviewing how missing person files are handled at the time Crowshoe went missing.
Since then, changes have been made in how family members are contacted, among other things.
"The tragic death of Mr. Crowshoe remains an active investigation and we ask for anyone with information to come forward,” read the statement.
- With files from The Canadian Press