Calgary police officer charged with assault stemming from 2019 arrest

CALGARY — Calgary police have charged an officer with assault connected to an on-duty incident in 2019 that followed a 20-minute chase of a stolen vehicle.

Police say a driver fled from officers at a high rate of speed on April 9, 2019 and attempted to ram police vehicles before stopping and trying to run away.

Police then located the man and he was taken into custody following a brief struggle.

“After the man was in custody, handcuffed and laying on the ground, it is believed that an officer who was not part of the initial arrest arrived and applied force that was not required, necessary or reasonable as part of his duties,” police said in a statement.

“The incident was investigated after a standard review of the police pursuit flagged the use of force concern.” 

Const. Benjamin Zampa, who has been with CPS for four years, is charged with one count of assault.

Zampa has been assigned to administrative duties and his status will be reviewed “as appropriate,” officials said. 

“Police conduct in Alberta is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada, and Alberta’s Police Act and Police Service Regulation. Officers are permitted to use reasonable and necessary force in the execution of their duties, but they can be charged if there are grounds to believe the force was excessive or not required at all,” read a statement.

“When concerns about force used by an officer arise, an internal investigation determines what happened and evaluates whether police actions followed the law, our policies and officer training.

“There is a range of potential outcomes if an investigation finds evidence of misconduct, including changes to policies and training, reprimands, demotions, pay deductions, suspensions, dismissals and criminal charges.” 

Crown prosecutors are brought in to review any charges before they are laid against an officer and the court process must conclude before any internal discipline can begin.

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