An RCMP officer who allegedly sent a text message alerting a police colleague he may have been about to drive home drunk will not be charged, after an investigation by Manitoba’s police watchdog.
The Independent Investigative Unit of Manitoba said the incident stemmed from a traffic stop west of Steinbach on June 9, 2019, in which an officer was served a 72-hour licence suspension.
The IIU looks into cases of all police officers allegedly involved in serious incidents or contraventions of federal or provincial law in the province.
The final report, dated April 14, indicates the RCMP notified the IIU that the officer under review sent a text message to another member of the Ste. Pierre-Jolys RCMP to ask if someone could bring him an “approved screening device” to determine if he could drive home after attending a fair in Niverville, Man.
The officer relayed the message to the local police, according to the final report, and Steinbach RCMP went to intercept the driver at a nearby highway intersection.
The subject officer behind the wheel was reportedly driving at a “high rate” of speed before the vehicle was stopped. Witness officers said he had driven by “super-fast,” and he had “slurred speech” and appeared to be nervous after he was pulled over, the report reads.
The results of a roadside test administered by police registered a “warning” — which one witness officer said meant his blood-alcohol level did not exceed the .08 limit, and another said meant it was between .05 and .10 — and his licence was temporarily suspended.
The IIU based its investigation on witness notes from seven RCMP officers, general reports, photographs of the test results, audio recordings of dispatch and a screenshot of the original text.
A friend who drove the subject home after the incident refused to answer questions.
The officer being investigated also declined to be interviewed by the IIU.
After completing his investigation, IIU civilian director Zane Tessler forwarded the file to the Manitoba Prosecution Service, which determined there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction” against the officer, so it did not authorize any Criminal Code or other provincial statutory offences.
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