11/15/2005Edmonton Officer Receives Slap on Wrist for Targeting Journalist
Edmonton, Canada police sergeant receives the lightest sentence for failed undercover sting operation against anti-camera journalist.
Edmonton, Canada police Sergeant Bill Newton was sentenced to a "written reprimand" for improperly gathering information on a journalist who had criticized the city's speed camera program. The Edmonton Police Service used this information in an attempt to arrest Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte for drunk driving at the Overtime bar on November 18, 2004. The undercover sting operation failed when Diotte left the bar without driving and without being drunk.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators declined to charge Newton with the more serious offense of abusing his authority for ordering the undercover sting operation, instead issuing the lightest possible punishment on Newton. Diotte has filed a $1.75 million lawsuit against the Edmonton Police Service, and former police chief Fred Rayner has filed a $1.5 million suit against the officials who fired him over the scandal.