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Calgary Police raid

Charges urged against police for botched raid

The lawyer representing a Calgary family mistakenly held at gunpoint by police has filed an application requesting that charges be laid against two senior officers.

Calgary Police Crest

Paul McKenna made the application Wednesday at a Law Enforcement Review Board hearing looking into the outcome of the family's complaint to police.

McKenna is asking the chief of police to lay charges against Sgt. Carl DeSantis and Insp. Paul Manuel for their role in obtaining the search warrant that led to the raid nearly five years ago.

He also wants an order compelling DeSantis, Manuel and several other senior officers to give evidence at the hearing.

The charges would be "for any or all of discreditable conduct, insubordination and neglect of duty."

Nancy Killian Constant was in her rented home at 7804 Elbow Dr. S.W. on Sept. 11, 2000, when police officers rushed in demanding that the woman, her husband, Fernand Constant, and their lawyer, Charles Ruff, hit the floor.

Ruff had been at the home to discuss an incident that occurred four days earlier -- the son of the family's landlord alleged that Fernand Constant pushed him down the stairs.

The officers burst into the house with guns drawn, upsetting the couple as well as their four children, a nephew and an 89-year-old grandmother.

Police left the home empty-handed after failing to uncover the grow operation they had initially suspected.

After an investigation, the front-line constables involved received minor reprimands for some of their mistakes, including failing to do a comprehensive and objective investigation into the alleged assault against the landlord.

The supervising officers, who signed off on the warrant, were not disciplined.

On Wednesday, the board's panel heard from Const. Kelly Grant, who said he had suspicions about marijuana in the home.

In an interview on Sept. 7, 2000, the landlord's son, Michael Terrigno, told Grant about some disassembled hydroponics equipment and condensation he'd seen in the home.

Grant added that while standing outside the home, he caught a whiff of marijuana.

"I noticed a strong, distinctive smell of growing marijuana plants," he said.

The Calgary Police Service declined to comment on the application.

"As the application is before the board, it would be inappropriate to discuss its content or any possible outcomes," said police spokesman Robert Palmer.

The hearing continues today when the panel is expected to hear from Const. Ian Vernon.