Racist e-mail rocks Edmonton police

Racist e-mail rocks Edmonton police June 14, 2005 (CP) This citys embattled police force faced renewed turmoil yesterday over a leaked e-mail that listed 10 demeaning ways for police to deal with aboriginals. Acting Chief Daryl da Costa described the e-mail, which was distributed among several officials in the downtown division, as “racist, discriminatory, disgusting, and offensive.” He has ordered an internal investigation, but has refused to release details of the e-mail or make it public. Mayor Stephen Mandel did not mince words for those responsible. “They should not be in the police force at all. They should find other jobs,” said Mandel. “Theres no place for people like that in the Edmonton police force or in the city of Edmonton, period.” A senior official with the police union said any incident involving racism is taken seriously, but noted the investigation is in its early stages. “None of our members have been served. We dont know whos involved,” said Det. Glen Dennis, vice-president of the Edmonton Police Association. A recent communique by da Costa advised all police staff that there is “zero tolerance for this type of conduct.” The chief also stated that if officers hold the racist views reflected in the e-mail, they should “consider other career options as you are making all of us look bad.” Da Costa is a newcomer to the top post but yesterday he told the Edmonton Sun he does not want the job permanently. “I truly believe because of whats gone on around our service . . . the commission needs to look externally first,” da Costa said. He was hired in the wake of a major scandal last fall that led to disciplinary hearings for three officers. Several officers are accused of laying a drunk-driving trap outside a downtown bar in hopes of catching the chairman of the police commission and a newspaper columnist who had been critical of police operations. Both men took cabs home from the bar. Fallout from this incident cost then-police chief Fred Rayner his job in February. Rayner initially said the two men werent being targeted, but later had to reverse himself. As public outrage built, Rayner went on indefinite medical leave. The commission then fired him. There have been other public black eyes. Mounties currently are investigating allegations senior Edmonton police officers took favours from a company that later was awarded a $90-million photo radar contract without any public tender. That contract has been put on hold. Last month, officers were harshly criticized by a judge after a young man was zapped repeatedly with a Taser before being thrown into the trunk of a police cruiser when he refused to co-operate during a traffic stop. Although an internal review recently cleared the officers involved, the case now is being referred to the provinces Law Enforcement Review Board. http://www.fftimes.com/index.php/3/2005-06-14/21626