Watchdog: Calgary Police Made Mistakes In Investigation of Colton Crowshoe

Colton Crowshoe’s family speaks out against police investigation. Jul 26. Calgary. Body found in pond next to Stoney Trail

The Canadian Press  | April 13, 2017

CALGARY — An Alberta agency that investigates police says Calgary officers made a series of mistakes as they investigated the disappearance of a young indigenous man who was later found dead.

But the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says it does not believe those errors in Colton Crowshoe’s case were the result of racism or that they amounted to a crime.

“The evidence gathered in the ASIRT investigation clearly demonstrates that the initial stage of this investigation was beset by a series of assumptions, errors, and oversights by (Calgary Police Service) personnel,” executive director Susan Hughson said Thursday afternoon.

“I want to make it clear, CPS has not been cleared of wrongdoing. CPS’s investigation into Colton Crowshoe’s missing person complaint was not done properly. The one thing we can say is that it was not the result of racism that we could find evidence of, but they are not cleared.”

Police charged 18-year-old Crowshoe in July 2014 with trespassing and break and enter. He was released from custody and was last seen on video walking away from a police station in good spirits.

But a few days later his family reported him missing and, three weeks later, his body was discovered in a city retention pond. An autopsy determined his death was a homicide and that case remains unsolved.

Crowshoe’s relatives alleged police did not take their missing person report seriously and accused the force of racism.

Colton Crowshoe

Hughson said ASIRT reviewed 28 other missing persons investigations and could find no evidence race played a role in how Crowshoe’s was handled.

Still, the investigation was botched.

“Several of the missing person policy protocols were not followed,” she said. “As a result, there was minimal investigation of the missing person report, no follow-up or file continuity, no accountability or file ownership, a failure to document relevant new information, and most importantly, no police-initiated communication with the family.

“They (the family) may have been wrong about the racial profiling potentially, but they are not wrong that there were problems with Colton’s missing persons investigation.”

The family also alleged that Crowshoe was roughed up during his initial arrest.

ASIRT examined that allegation as well and found that there were no grounds for criminal charges against officers.

“In this case, it is clear that at the time this contact occurred, the officer is in the lawful execution of his duties. He is doing his job,” Hughson said.

She gave the Calgary Police Service credit for reviewing the case itself after it came to light and making changes to the way missing persons cases are investigated.

She said there are lessons to be learned for all police forces when it comes to missing persons cases.

“They need to be treated as potential homicides in many cases,” she said. “Often people will turn up so I understand why there is almost a complacency … but in the cases where they don’t, that time can be critical.”

The Calgary Police Service issued a news release late Thursday saying their internal review has resulted in changes being made to improve the process of managing missing person files.

Those changes include “clearer guidelines for frontline officers and investigators as well as a more thorough accountability framework” that adds checks and balances to ensure missing person files are “managed to the highest standard possible.”

The service also said its policy around communicating with family members of missing persons has also been strengthened.

“To ensure we have covered all the concerns in the ASIRT investigation, we will be reviewing their report in detail to determine if any additional lessons can be learned,” said the statement.

“The tragic death of Mr. Crowshoe remains an active investigation and we ask for anyone with information to come forward.”

Hughson said Crowshoe’s family is devastated by the young man’s death.

“Someone out there knows what happened to Colton Crowshoe,” she said.

“This is a good, loving family that never gave up. Please, I am going to ask you to come forward. Give this family the chance to heal.”

[SOURCE]

 

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Cellphone Surveillance Technology Being Used By Local Police Across Canada

Police have described IMSI catchers as a ‘vital tool,’ used under warrant, to help pinpoint suspects. But civil liberties groups say there’s a lack of transparency and oversight in how police deploy the devices. (Reuters)

CBC News confirms at least 6 police departments use IMSI catchers but several of them won’t say for what

By Matthew Braga, Dave Seglins, CBC News Posted: Apr 12, 2017

At least six police forces across Canada are now using cellphone surveillance technology, but several of them won’t say whether they use the devices to eavesdrop on phone calls and text messages.

Calgary police, Ontario Provincial Police and Winnipeg police all confirmed to CBC News they own the devices — known as IMSI catchers, cell site simulators or mobile device identifiers (MDIs) — joining the RCMP, which has used the technology for its own investigations and to assist Toronto and Vancouver police.

While Ontario and Winnipeg police refused to say whether they use the technology to intercept private communications, Calgary police and the RCMP insist they only deploy their IMSI catchers to identify — and occasionally, in the RCMP’s case, track — cellular devices.

Police have described the surveillance devices as a “vital tool” used under warrant to help pinpoint suspects, and as a first step toward applying for wiretaps in serious criminal and national security investigations.

But Micheal Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and a legal expert on privacy, says she’s concerned there isn’t a warrant process specific to IMSI catchers that establishes strict limits on how the technology is used given its potential for mass surveillance.

“It’s nothing but a policy choice for some law enforcement not to use the content interception capabilities,” said Vonn, referring to features some IMSI catchers have to eavesdrop on any cellphone within a radius of several blocks. It’s hard to believe “the tantalizing availability of such technology is not going to be exploited,” she said. “It will.”

In an unprecedented briefing with reporters last week, the RCMP insisted that its IMSI catchers cannot currently intercept calls, text messages and other private communication.

After a decade of silence, the RCMP revealed it owns 10 IMSI catchers, which were used in 19 criminal investigations last year and another 24 in 2015 — including emergency cases such as kidnappings or imminent threats to public safety.

Survey of police forces

CBC News has since contacted 30 provincial and municipal police forces across Canada to ask how many IMSI catchers they own, the number of operators trained to use them, and how many times the technology was used in 2015 and 2016.

Only Calgary police answered in full.

Micheal Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, is concerned police may exploit the surveillance capabilities of IMSI catchers. (BCCLA.org)

Ryan Jepson, the head of Calgary police’s technical operations section, said his force has owned one IMSI catcher since 2015. It was used in six investigations that year, and eight more in 2016.

He says the device is only deployed by “a very small group of trained operators” within his unit, and is only used to identify suspects’ devices — not track their location or collect the content of their communications.

“It’s the same as the RCMP. We don’t intercept private communications,” Jepson said.

Ontario Provincial Police and Winnipeg police each possess at least one IMSI catcher, but declined to discuss:

  • Whether their technology is used to capture the contents of communications.
  • How many technicians are trained to operate the technology.
  • The number of investigations in which the device was used in 2015 and 2016.

Both forces said revealing more information could jeopardize ongoing investigations, court proceedings, and public and officer safety. But Jepson in Calgary disagrees.

“I have no issues with being transparent about it. It was never the intent to be secretive,” he said. “It was about being able to protect certain techniques.”

Others deny use

Several police forces told CBC News they neither own nor use IMSI catcher technology, including Charlottetown police; the forces in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Halton, Hamilton and London, Ont.; and in Quebec City, Laval and Gatineau, and the Quebec Provincial Police.

Police in Montreal, Regina, Halifax, Ottawa, Niagara and Windsor, Ont., declined to comment, citing policies not to discuss investigative techniques.​

And police from York Region, Peel Region, Kingston and Waterloo in Ontario, as well as Victoria and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary either didn’t respond in time for publication, or ignored CBC’s requests completely.

Durham Regional Police east of Toronto also ignored repeated requests from CBC to discuss IMSI catcher use, despite applying for a broad federal licence last summer that would allow the force to purchase such a device.

RCMP helps other forces

It’s still not clear whether police in Toronto and Vancouver also own and operate their own IMSI catchers, but CBC News has learned that the RCMP has used the technology on behalf of both forces in the past.

Edmonton police said they don’t own an IMSI catcher, but declined to say how many times they’ve used the technology during the past two years — or whether another police force helped them to do so.

An IMSI catcher pretends to be a cellphone tower to attract nearby cell signals. When it does, it can intercept the unique ID number associated with your phone, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, or IMSI. That number can then be used to track your phone. (CBC)

The technique has been used in multiple Toronto police investigations, but in Vancouver it may have only been deployed once — in an emergency situation involving a missing person in 2007.

“The Device was used in an attempt to locate or verify the presence of a specific and known cellular phone,” wrote Darrin Hurwitz, legal counsel for Vancouver police’s access and privacy section, in a response last summer to a July 2015 Freedom of Information request from PIVOT Legal Society. “VPD does not own and has never owned this Device.”

Vancouver police didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment, including about whether the force received additional RCMP assistance or obtained its own device since answering PIVOT’s request.

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash wrote in an email that they “do not discuss investigative techniques.”

Calls for rules

Watchdog groups have called for specialized warrants and better public reporting of how the devices are being used.

“We want the police to have the appropriate tools,” said Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “That they don’t have the appropriate oversight and that those tools have the potential for abuse […] the public cares very much about that.”

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is investigating the RCMP’s use of IMSI catchers, following a complaint filed last year.

“What I can tell you is that we are looking at what type of information the IMSI devices and associated software used by the RCMP are capable of capturing,” spokesperson Tobi Cohen wrote in an email. “For instance, can and do they only capture the unique identifiers associated with a mobile device or are they also capable of capturing private voice, text and email communications.”

Her office called the lack of transparency “a concern,” and supports regular public reporting on the use and effectiveness of new technological powers — something the RCMP has said it could support.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/cellphone-surveillance-police-canada-imsi-catcher-privacy-1.4066527

Calgary Police Look To Speak With Man In Connection With Murder Of Christa Cachene

Christa's family made an emotional statement and pleaded with those who attended her party Saturday to come forward and help with the investigation. (Left) Aj Cachene (brother), Leslie Whitehead (father), Nancy Cachene (mother), Jaci Cachene (sister), Julian Redwood (bother-in-law).

Christa’s family made an emotional statement and pleaded with those who attended her party Saturday to come forward and help with the investigation. (Left) Aj Cachene (brother), Leslie Whitehead (father), Nancy Cachene (mother), Jaci Cachene (sister), Julian Redwood (bother-in-law). LUCIE EDWARDSON- METRO

By Red Power Media, Staff, Updated Oct 14, 2015

Family Have Identified Homicide Victim Found In Calgary Home

Police are asking the public to help them track down an 18-year-old Calgary man they want to speak with in connection with a weekend murder.

Christa Cachene’s family are asking anyone who knows anything about her death to come forward.

Police were called to the 0-100 block of Ranchlands Bay N.W. at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, where they found Cachene’s body.

Calgary City Police hold the scene at a homicide on Ranchlands Bay NW in Calgary, Ab., on Monday October 12, 2015. Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/Postmedia Network Mike Drew/Calgary Sun

Calgary City Police hold the scene at a homicide on Ranchlands Bay NW in Calgary, Ab., on Monday October 12, 2015. Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/Postmedia

Police believe Cachene hosted a party Saturday night in her home.

Staff Sgt. Colin Chisholm said Cachene was found dead as a result of a “vicious beating”, which took place early Sunday morning after the party had ended.

A photo of 18-year-old Isaiah Riel Rider, of Calgary, has been released.

Police say they believe Rider was at the party and that he is wanted on a province-wide warrant for assault as well as a Canada-wide warrant for breaching a conditional sentencing order.

This photo was publicly visible on Rider's Facebook profile. FACEBOOK

This photo was publicly visible on Rider’s Facebook profile. FACEBOOK

Rider is described as an Aboriginal male, approximately six-foot-two, 155 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Rider’s whereabouts is asked to call the Calgary Police Service’s non-emergency line at 403.266.1234 or the Homicide Unit Tip line at 403.428.8877. Tips can also be left anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers.

Homicide victim Christa Cachene. FACEBOOK

Homicide victim Christa Cachene. FACEBOOK

Just days before her death, Cachene, 26, posted a video to her Facebook page reminding friends and family that time is valuable.

“So I realize that time is very, very valuable,” she said. “That’s a piece of your life you will never ever be able to get back, so be careful who you spend your time with.”

Video: Chryss Cache, Time is valuable 

Friends took to the social media platform to express their shock and sadness at Cachene’s passing.

Elena Tatiana commented “Going to miss you, homie” on a photo of Cachene, while Ben DoverMeow said “Rest In Paradise Christa Cachene.  Love you Cous.”

FB

Updated: Calgary police have confirmed RCMP located Isaiah Riel Rider and he is now in custody.

Family, friends remember murdered Aboriginal woman as wait for justice continues

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Oct 19, 2014

Family, friends remember murdered Aboriginal woman in Calgary as wait for justice continues

Although the weather couldn’t have been more calming with a gentle breeze and a bright blue sky, there’s no peace of mind for Sandra Manyfeathers-O’Hara.

Her sister, 44-year-old Jackie Crazy Bull, was murdered on July 11, 2007, after a stabbing spree in Calgary, which resulted in four other victims.

Jackie was the only one who died.

Seven years later, no charges have been laid and her family says Calgary police have ignored the case despite plenty of evidence.

Saturday was the fifth annual Walk For Justice in her memory, a painful reminder of the crime and lack of results, as two dozen people chanted, read speeches and marched along 17th Avenue to the location where she was attacked.

Manyfeathers-O’Hara said in the early days of the investigation, there was much more contact with police, but they haven’t heard from them in over five years.

“I like to see myself as an individual that is fair and I like to see myself as somebody that would give the benefit of the doubt to the police,” she said. “After the first year, we didn’t hear anything back from the police, so any information that comes to us about Jackie comes to us generally through the media or other sources but never from the police.”

In recent years, CPS officials have said they have been working on the case and there are instances where accused killers aren’t found for many years after their crimes.

But Manyfeathers-O’Hara said the event is not just about her sister, but all missing and murdered Aboriginal women, for which there have been multiple calls in the last two months for a national inquiry.

“We’ve reached an epidemic,” she said. “The problem starts at the top with the government and their stance or the lack thereof in terms of investigation toward missing and murdered Aboriginal women.”

“What we want to do is both give dignity to Jackie and also show that we’re here and we’re going to stay here until we find justice.”

Someone who knows the pain of the violence as well is Delilah Saunders, whose pregnant sister Loretta was killed in February.

She was writing her honours thesis at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax on the same violent topic when she went missing and her body eventually found along the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton.

The accused murderers in that case will go to trial in April.

Delilah now calls Calgary home and said she would not miss this event.

“Since she can’t be here, I’d like to be here to represent her and lend my voice,” she said. “She would be down here doing the exact same thing that I’m doing and I’m just really happy to be here and help them.”

She has also started a blog, where she discusses her experience and reaches out to other homicide survivors.

http://www.660news.com/2014/10/18/family-friends-remember-murdered-aboriginal-woman-in-calgary-as-wait-for-justice-continues/