Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Edmonton police officer demoted for excessive violence against homeless man

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The sanction will come into force when the police officer, on disability leave since 2020, returns to work.

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An Edmonton City Police officer was demoted after being found guilty of committing a violent act against a homeless person.

Matthew O'Mara will go from the rank of police officer with five years of seniority to that of an agent with only three years of service. During the duration of this sanction, i.e. two years, he will not be able to be promoted or play an important role within the police.

The decision ordered Monday following a disciplinary hearing will come into effect when the officer returns to work. He has been on disability leave from the Workers' Compensation Board since 2020.

The case dates back to December 11, 2017, when Matthew O'Mara, then on patrol, was called with another officer to remove a homeless man who was sleeping in a business on Jasper Avenue. p>

After issuing the man a ticket for public drunkenness and trespassing, Police Officer Matthew O'Mara took him hit in the head several times, before driving him to a trail on the North Saskatchewan River, far from shelters or a hospital, while he was bleeding from the head.

In 2019, Provincial Court Judge D'Arcy DePoe found Matthew O'Mara guilty of using excessive force against the victim.

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The force used on a lying, injured, physically restrained and intoxicated homeless man was not proportionate, necessary, or reasonable.

A quote from D'Arcy DePoe, Provincial Court

The judge considered as an aggravating circumstance the fact that, after having exerted such violence on the man, Matthew O'Mara and his colleague took him to a place far from any shelter or assistance, and, what's more, on a cold December night.

At the sentencing hearing, the convicted officer's lawyer argued that his client should be granted parole because a criminal conviction could cause him to lose his job as a police officer. A conditional release would also have allowed him to avoid having a criminal record.

Judge DePoe, however, considered that' a criminal conviction was necessary.

Thus, in November 2020, he found Officer O'Mara guilty of assault and #x27;sentenced to 18 months probation.

The police officer who was on patrol with him that day is also the subject of #x27;disciplinary allegations. An update on this case is expected in February.

With information from Paige Parsons

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