Review of 1997 Police Misconduct Investigation
The Calgary Police Commission has completed its review of the Calgary Police Service’s internal handling of a criminal allegation made in 1997 against then police officer, Sean Chu. The incident came to light during the 2021 municipal election and a review was ordered by the commission soon after.
The review identified some policies and processes that were not properly followed during the internal investigation, mostly around when a disciplinary investigation was completed and how information was communicated to the youth who reported that she had been sexually assaulted by the officer. While the errors had the potential to impact the outcome of the case, it does not appear that occurred as an internal investigation and disciplinary hearing did eventually happen.
However, the errors created significant delay and mistrust in the process.
Under Alberta’s Police Act, the Commission’s Public Complaint Director has the authority to review any investigation into police conduct. More information is being provided to the public about this review than is typical because the high-profile nature of this case could significantly impact the public’s trust in policing.
What the review examined:
- Did the Calgary Police Service properly follow the procedures in place at the time for investigating police misconduct complaints?
- Were there any gaps in the procedures at the time that still exist today?
- Would a similar incident be handled differently under current procedures?
- Are any additional changes to police misconduct investigation procedures needed?
What the review could not do:
- Evaluate whether the criminal investigation and decision not to lay criminal charges were correct. The Commission does not have the legal authority to review criminal investigations.
- Lay new charges. The Commission does not have the legal power to criminally charge people and only has the power to lay police misconduct charges against the current police chief.
- Re-investigate and publicly report on the actions of former Constable Sean Chu.
- Determine former Constable Sean Chu’s fitness for public office.
Who was involved in the review:
- The Commission’s Public Complaint Director conducted the review.
- The Calgary Police Service is provided all relevant records in their possession for the review.
- The Calgary Police Commission assessed the results and will decide whether any further changes to the police misconduct investigation procedures are needed.
The expected completion date for the review was March 2022, however, it took longer than anticipated to gather the relevant documents due to the length of time that has passed since the initial investigations.