News / Winnipeg

Two more Winnipeg police officers on leave following pedestrian death

Independent police watchdog called in to investigate alleged 'improper conduct.'

A Winnipeg police cruiser is pictured in this Metro file photo.

Shannon VanRaes / For Metro

A Winnipeg police cruiser is pictured in this Metro file photo.

Manitoba's independent police watchdog is looking into alleged "improper conduct" of two police officers called in to investigate of one of their peers who allegedly struck – and killed – a pedestrian while impaired.

In an emailed statement Friday, Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth said the officers were assisting the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) in the case of Const. Justin Holz, who was arrested in the area of Main Street and Red River Boulevard Oct. 10.

Holz was released from custody, but faces charges of impaired driving causing death and failure to stop and remain at the scene of an accident. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

More than 50 Winnipeg police officers and staff were assisting the IIU in the investigation, including forensic examination, scene examination and technical testing used to detect impairment.

On Friday, Smyth did not specify why these two officers have been placed on leave, only saying he learned of their questionable "actions" the previous day. He said it caused "enough concern" that he decided to notify the director of the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU).

"I am in a difficult position because I cannot comment about specifics of the IIU investigation," said Smyth. "That said I expect members of the police service to act professionally. While I do not know if the two officers have done anything criminal, it is in the best interests of the service that they be removed from duty."

Meanwhile, the IIU released a statement confirming it's now investigating the "irregular and improper conduct" of two officers.

The IIU, which investigates any serious incident involving Manitoba police, will determine whether charges should be laid against both or either of the officers.

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