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Edmonton Police


On Nov. 18, 2004, members of the Edmonton Police Service staked out the Overtime bar, acting on a tip that Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte was inside and a risk to drink and drive.

The Edmonton Journal obtained transcripts of radio conversations between the officers.


Nov. 18, 2004 - Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte and Martin Ignasiak, chairman of the Edmonton police commission, attend a Canadian Association of Journalists event at the Overtime Broiler and Taproom.

Police say they receive a tip that Diotte is a risk to drink and drive, and five officers stakeout the bar. Two undercover officers go inside to keep an eye on him.

Diotte and Ignasiak later leave the bar in cabs.

A newspaper reporter hears Diotte's name mentioned on the police scanner.

Nov. 25, 2004 - Police Chief Fred Rayner launches an investigation into the sting, asking the Calgary Police Service to review the information.

Dec. 1, 2004 - Ignasiak orders Rayner to give details of the investigation to the police commission.

Dec. 2, 2004 - Ignasiak steps aside as the commission spokesman on the police sting, after some criticism that he can't be both complainant and point man.

Feb. 3, 2005 - Rayner releases details of the review into the Nov. 18 sting. Two senior officers are charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Act - one for his handling of the tip that Diotte was a risk to drink and drive, the other for sending out a news release a few days later that implied Diotte and Ignasiak were intoxicated that night.

He acknowledges that Diotte was a target of officers, but says it was a coincidence Ignasiak happened to be at the same bar.

Rayner clears the seven officers on the scene of any wrongdoing, saying they were just doing their job,and watching a number of bars in the area.

He also admits that the names of both Diotte and Ignasiak had been inappropriately run through the police information system at times before the Nov. 18 incident. Four officers and a civilian traffic analyst are given warnings.

Feb. 6, 2005 - The Edmonton Journal publishes transcripts of police radio calls from the night of the Overtime sting. The officers talk about where Diotte lives, how excited they would be to arrest him and the quality of his columns.

One officer says whomever arrests Diotte "will never have to pay for a drink as long as he lives." One officer says he's getting sexually aroused at the prospect of arresting him.

Rayner issues a statement saying he "strongly disagrees with the language and conversations on these tapes" and that "there is no question the eagerness these officers demonstrated at the prospect of charging him with impaired driving was clearly inappropriate."

He said the review done by the Calgary Police Service found their attitude hadn't affected their monitoring of Diotte.

Feb. 7, 2005 - Rayner tells the police commission he is going on medical leave, as calls for a public inquiry into the sting and its handling grow.

Feb. 8, 2005 - The police commission fires Rayner at a closed-door meeting, then immediately hires his replacement.

Feb. 9, 2005 - Rayner calls for a full inquiry into the Overtime sting and the decision to fire him, while surrounded by between 200 and 300 officers. Some question whether the firing was part of a coup by the police commission.

Feb. 10, 2005 - City council meets behind closed doors to discuss whether to ratify the police commission's choice of a new chief, or to hold an open competition for the job.

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