In September 2014, HRP’s Professional Standards office received a public complaint in relation to alleged excessive force by one of our officers while making an arrest. The Sergeant in Professional Standards investigated the matter, and referred it to the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) in October based on the circumstances of the incident. SiRT investigated the file and today laid a charge of assault against Constable Derek Fish, who has been with HRP for 14 years. Constable Fish is not currently on active duty, the specifics of which we can’t discuss as it’s a confidential personnel matter.
This is SiRT’s first Criminal Code charge against an officer while on duty, which is deeply troubling for HRP. We recognize the expectation that police officers be beyond reproach, so it’s disconcerting for our organization, employees and community when an officer is alleged to have broken the laws they are sworn to uphold. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that an officer charged criminally, just like any other person, is innocent until proven guilty.
A corresponding Police Act investigation was commenced at the outset of this matter and, as per normal procedure, suspended pending the completion of the criminal proceedings. The Police Act investigation will resume following the matter which is now before the courts.
Originally released by SiRT:
SiRT: Report released outlining charge against HRP officer
The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) today released a report announcing the laying of a charge of assault against Cst. Derek Fish, a 45-year-old member of the Halifax Regional Police (HRP).
The charge relates to the arrest of a 34-year-old male on August 22, 2014 at the Dairy Queen on Dutch Village Road in Halifax for theft from another store. That male made a complaint about the officer’s conduct in September of 2014. On October 17, 2014, the HRP referred the matter to SiRT for investigation under the public interest component of SiRT’s mandate.
Today, SiRT laid one charge of assault against Cst. Fish, alleged to have occurred on August 22, 2014. Cst. Fish will be summoned to appear at the Halifax Provincial Court on March 23, 2015.
The full report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca.
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.