Joint statement from the leaders of Alberta’s largest labour organizations
Edmonton - The unions of the Alberta Federation of Labour stand together to support Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips to condemn the unlawful police activity against her. We call for a public inquiry and demand that the police officers be fired. The activity, which includes unauthorized surveillance, posting of photos and incorrect negative information to Facebook, unlawful police database searches and, as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) reports reveal, even more dangerous alleged actions.
These actions are unacceptable coming from anyone but especially repugnant for officers of the law. This arbitrary abuse of police power shows a lack of respect for the then-cabinet minister’s office and reveals the glaring misogyny that women MLAs face every day. These incidents also raise troubling questions about the culture within the Lethbridge police force and the political culture within Alberta that led these police officers to feel they could engage in these activities with impunity.
These officers were disciplined and temporarily demoted a rank for their misconduct but their actions require a more severe response. These officers are still on the street and more needs to be done to send the message that these kinds of actions and abuses will never be tolerated in a free and democratic society.
We applaud the fact that the Alberta's Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the circumstances surrounding a series of potentially unauthorized uses of police databases by members of the Lethbridge Police Service. We also applaud the fact that the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board has granted MLA Phillips the right to appeal the discipline.
The ongoing investigation is uncovering more and more troubling details and will likely find that the searches conducted on Phillips violate both privacy legislation and the Criminal Code. The abuse of authority in this matter is especially concerning and not only should the officers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but the Lethbridge police should support a public inquiry and fire the officers in question if they want to regain public trust and repair the harm they have done to their community and the institution of law enforcement.
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