The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is the municipal police force for the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. A sergeant with the EPS who had over 24 years of experience, faced charges that included obstruction of justice.
It’s alleged that the sergeant was at an Emergency Protection Order hearing and misrepresented the status of a police investigation. The severity of this case caused the alleged victim to sue the police department for $4.5 million.
Emergency Protection Order
A man who only goes by the initials “MJ,” claimed in a statement filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench in June 2018 that an emergency protection order was unfairly imposed against him. He consequently faced unfounded allegations of having abused his own child in 2016.
The Edmonton Journal wrote that according to the statement of the claim, the mother of the child made numerous allegations of child abuse against the man. MJ claims that he was then questioned by Edmonton police and the Department of Child and Family.
No Charges Filed
But police told him in August 2016 that the investigation was closed and no charges would be filed. The Edmonton police even confirmed by email with the Journal that no charges were filed against the man in relation to this case.
But in September 2016, MJ alleged that a hearing was held that resulted in an emergency protection order being put in place against him. The lawsuit claimed Edmonton police Sergeant Kevin Fald, a Child and Family Services employee and the child’s mother all “deliberately provided false information to a court of law.”
MJ alleged that Fald, who was not an investigator on the case, told the court that he was one and that charges were pending. He also alleged that a Child and Family Services worker provided a letter to the court stating the investigation was ongoing.
The statement claimed the defendants “knew very well that he was innocent and had gone to great lengths with the help of others to have him consent to the (order).” According to the documents in the court file, the case relates to an Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) investigation that resulted in Fald being charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of unauthorized use of a computer.
When the charges were made public, ASIRT alleged that Fald misrepresented the status of a police investigation during a family court hearing. This led to the imposition of a protection order against one of the parties (MJ). ASIRT said that Fald was not involved in the police investigation in any official capacity.
ASIRT added that Fald also allegedly tried to obstruct an EPS professional standards investigation into his conduct and improperly accessed two police information databases “in the course of committing these offenses.”
ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson told Global News that she couldn’t expand on what the court case surrounded but she did call it a “quasi-criminal family matter.” “We have to remember that there is a family at the center of this with a child involved, so I’m not going to get into any of the circumstances,” she said.
Professional Standards Investigation
The investigation led ASIRT to allege the officer attempted to block an EPS professional standards investigation into the incident and that he accessed two police databases in the course of committing the offenses. While the EPS said no comment would be provided to the media, they did issue a short statement.
The police service said after it became aware of Fald’s alleged involvement in the September 2016 family court hearing, it “immediately” initiated an internal investigation. “The EPS and our community rightfully hold our police officers to the highest standards,” police Chief Rod Knecht said in a statement obtained by CBC. “Any violation of these standards is completely unacceptable.”
Obstruction Of Justice
Sergeant Kevin Fald is facing two counts each of obstruction of justice and unauthorized use of a computer. A statement from the EPS says that he has been removed from duty without pay, pending the outcome of the criminal charges and proceedings.
While ASIRT was called in to investigate an incident involving law enforcement when someone is killed or injured, or when a criminal offense may have been committed, charging an officer is “more exceptional” than common. “It’s very uncommon,” Hughson said.
“In the majority of the cases we can conclusively clear officers and demonstrate that they were acting lawfully and properly in the course of their duties. That’s the vast majority of the cases that we do,” she added.
Hughson also said the investigation took longer than expected because they needed to make sure they could get all possible evidence and they had some “difficulty” with a particular witness. “It took some additional time that we would have otherwise not chosen to take,” Hughson said.
The EPS notified Alberta Justice on February 16, 2017, and the next day, the ASIRT took over the criminal investigation. When that independent investigation was completed, the file was forwarded to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service.
Editor’s note: This case remains ongoing and LifeDaily will update as information is released.
Before this incident, Fald previously worked on Project Watch, as well as the Internet Child Exploitation Unit with the Global News. Project Watch is a police program to clean up housing conditions in Edmonton’s motels and apartments.
“We’ve seen mice infestations, cockroaches, raw sewage backing up from crumbling infrastructure,” Fald said in a statement in 2016. “The biggest thing is we want to make sure that we want to provide safe housing, safe accommodations for these families and vulnerable persons, and we want to keep them that way.”
“What we’re finding out is this isn’t just an Edmonton issue, this is a provincial issue, it’s actually a Canadian issue, a national issue,” Fald said. Prior to this work in 2016, as a detective, Fald also cracked down on child pornography and Internet luring.
Fald was released from prison on a promise to appear back in Edmonton Provincial Court. On July 2, 2018, the Edmonton Journal reported that a two-day preliminary hearing in Fald’s case was scheduled for July 18, 2018. In addition, the article states that police confirmed by email that no charges were filed against MJ. There have been no developments on the story since this last update, raising questions of the case’s outcome. As of December 2018, Fald’s LinkedIn still lists him as an active member of the Edmonton Police Service.