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P.A. Police Chief suspends 2 officers who responded to domestic dispute that resulted in baby's death

PRINCE ALBERT – The Prince Albert Police Chief has suspended two officers from active duty pending the outcome of an independent investigation.

Two patrol officers were dispatched to a domestic dispute at 33 - 23 Street West in Prince Albert at approximately 5:44 a.m. on Feb. 10. Prince Albert Police say that the officers left the residence with the mother. Officers were called back to the home about five hours later and found the baby deceased.  The child’s father, Kaij Dean Paul Brass was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Brass was remanded in custody and appears again in Prince Albert Provincial Court on March 14.

As required under the Police Act, Chief Jonathan Bergen launched an investigation into the initial police response to the residence and the Public Complaints Commission is investigating. 

Amid recent calls from Indigenous leaders for the police service and the officers involved to be held immediately accountable, Bergen said to ensure transparency and accountability, investigation of the police response to the dispatch was placed in the hands of the Public Complaints Commission to preserve due process and the integrity of the independent investigation process.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), Prince Albert Grand Council, and Thunderchild First Nation issued a joint news release March 2 saying the boy's mother, who was taken into custody when police first responded, had feared for her son’s death and she was “fleeing from a domestic violence situation.”

"When officers arrived, they assumed her fear was alcohol-related and arrested her for intoxication, ignoring her pleas for help," read the news release.

In the joint media release, Kyla Frenchman said, “No mother should ever have to go through this. No mother should have to feel this pain. He was such a happy baby, who was always smiling. He was adorable and had big squishy cheeks. We used to watch Blue’s Clues together and laugh."

The Indigenous leaders said Frenchman was treated differently because she was First Nations.

“She wasn’t believed by the officers when she said she and her baby were in danger. She was taken into custody while innocent baby Tanner’s life was taken," stated the joint media release. 

Bergen had previously indicated that next steps would be taken by the Prince Albert Police Service once he received further information from the PCC.

Today Bergen issued a statement confirming that the PCC yesterday confirmed to him the scope of the investigation.

“We understand that based on the PCC’s analysis of the preliminary evidence available, the scope of the independent investigation will include a full investigation of the nature and implications of the response undertaken by the two officers who attended the first call to the residence, based on legal standards imposed on police by legislation and by police conduct regulations,” said Bergen. 

Based on that information, Bergen suspended the two officers from active duty pending the outcome of the independent investigation.  According to Bergen, further decisions will be based on the facts and evidence that the PCC investigation will ultimately report on.

Bergen said that the PCC advised him that its investigation will also look into circumstances surrounding any responsibility attributable to three senior supervisory officers at relevant times during the shift on the date in question. 

Bergen said he is confident that the community will closely follow the independent process through to its completion in order that judgments of any officer are made with the benefit of full and accurate information from the PCC investigation, however it turns out. 

Bergen said he understands the emotion and context of the comments being raised in the media.

“We hear the expectation of us, we are listening, and as a police service we are committed to continuing to listen and to live up to the expectation on us,” said Bergen. 

Story updated with additional information

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