A Winnipeg police officer already charged with assault and separately for improperly storing a weapon is facing new allegations — this time for using the police computer system to try to get out of a speeding ticket.
Mantioba’s police watchdog announced Wednesday Patrol Sgt. Sean Cassidy has been charged with fraud, unauthorized use of a computer, and obstruction of justice.
The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of Manitoba says Cassidy was caught speeding while on-duty in a private vehicle by photo radar Oct. 1, 2019.
The police watchdog then alleges Cassidy used the police computer system to erase his ticket.
“Upon return to his office, the officer made unauthorized entries into a WPS computer system to prevent the speeding ticket from issuing, thereby frustrating and defeating the court process related to it,” reads a release from the IIU.
The IIU first announced it was investigating the allegation Oct. 4, 2019.
Cassidy is presumed innocent and is scheduled to make his first court appearance March 9.
In January 2019 he was charged with assault causing bodily harm in connection with an alleged assault of a 32-year-old man in March 2017.
According to the IIU, Cassidy was off-duty when he’s alleged to have punched and kneed the man, causing a number of injuries.
In September 2019, the IIU charged Cassidy again, this time with unsafe storage of a firearm and possessing a restricted weapon at an unauthorized place, in connection with a January 2019 incident.
Cassidy made his first court appearance on the assault charges in March and the weapons charges in October.
‘We did not expect this to happen’
Following the IIU’s announcement Wednesday, Winnipeg police chief, Danny Smyth, spoke to media about the new charges laid against Cassidy.
Smyth said Cassidy had been granted access to the force’s photo radar computer system while working in the photo radar unit after being removed from his regular duties following his initial assault charges.
“We felt that was an appropriate duty for him at the time,” Smyth said. “We did not expect this to happen.”
Smyth said during the assault investigation, IIU investigators found Cassidy had a personally-owned gun in his police locker, which led to the second weapons-related charges.
Smyth said Cassidy was removed from his duties in the photo radar unit when the IIU began investigating the speeding ticket allegations in October.
Cassidy remains on administrative leave, said Smyth, and will also face a WPS regulatory process which will run simultaneously with his criminal proceedings.
Smyth said that process could “affect his employment status down the road.”
“I am concerned about the allegations involving the conduct of Sgt. Cassidy,” he told media.
“The integrity of the conduct of police officers, and the integrity of police systems must be paramount, if the people we serve are to trust the police.”
Smyth said an audit has been conducted on the police’s photo radar computer system, going back six years, and “no other anomalies were discovered.”
“This is a restricted system that very few people have access to.”
“I’m satisfied that the checks and balances within the photo radar system were able to detect an irregularity and I’m also satisfied that no other irregularities were discovered.”
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