Abbotsford police officer charged with assault

An Abbotsford police officer has been charged with assault stemming from the arrest of a shoplifter in September 2009.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the charge was sworn yesterday (Monday) against Const. Adam Page, a six-year member of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD).

MacDonald said Page has been on administrative duty since the matter came to light in April 2010.

The alleged assault occurred on Sept. 20, 2009 after police were called to a store in West Oaks Mall in the 32700 block of South Fraser Way.

A loss prevention officer reported that a man had shoplifted an electric toothbrush, valued at about $100.

The 37-year-old suspect was handcuffed, and police were in the process of escorting him out of the store to a patrol car.

"The officer (allegedly) applied force to this individual which resulted in that man essentially impacting a wall with his shoulder and head," MacDonald said.

He said the suspect did not require, or request, any medical treatment. Neither he nor the loss prevention officer reported the incident to the APD, MacDonald said.

Instead, the matter was brought forward in April 2010 from within the APD, and an internal investigation was launched.

In January 2011, the APD's professional standards section forwarded a recommendation to Crown counsel that Page be charged with assault.

A separate investigation of the matter is being conducted by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which reviews police conduct and determines what, if any, disciplinary action should result.

This could include a written reprimand, a suspension, a demotion or dismissal.

MacDonald said situations like this can be difficult for the department.

"We work really hard to justify the 93 per cent approval rating we have from the citizens of this community. When we have a bad day or a bad incident, we're very concerned about public perception, and we hope the fact we launched the investigation and are endeavouring  to be transparent is not lost."

This is the second APD officer to be charged with assault in the last year. Const. Doug Lemna, a 20-year member of the force, was charged with assault in March 2010.

It is alleged that he used excessive force on an individual who was detained after police received reports of breaking glass in the 2600 block of Jasper Court in September 2009.

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