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Edmonton mayor calls for 2 inquiries into police actions before Chinatown killings

Follow this link to learn more about CBC’s investigation into Justin Bone’s interactions with law enforcement.


Edmonton’s mayor is demanding that Alberta’s Solicitor General and the city’s police commission review police actions in the days leading up to the deaths of two men in Chinatown.

Amarjeet Sohi’s calls for both reviews came on Friday, after a CBC News investigation found Alberta RCMP released an offender in the city, three days before he was arrested in the murders.

The accused, Justin Bone, was dropped off in west Edmonton on May 15 by Parkland RCMP officers who picked him up from Alberta Beach, even though his bail conditions prohibited him from to be in Edmonton unsupervised.

Edmonton Police Service officers spoke to Bone the same day he was dropped off in Edmonton by the RCMP. City police did not detain Bone because “no criminal offense was found,” EPS said.

Bone is now charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the May 18 murders of Hung Trang, 64, and Ban Phuc Hoang, 61.

Sohi called the case Friday a failure of the justice system and policing in Alberta. He said he and his colleagues on the city council were devastated to learn of the events.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi wants the Alberta Solicitor General and the Edmonton Police Commission to investigate police actions in the days leading up to the deaths of two men in the Chinatown area of ​​the town. (Sam Martin/CBC)

“I urge the Solicitor General to conduct a full review to get to the bottom of this situation and help close the loopholes in the system to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Sohi said in a statement.

“I also strongly call on the Solicitor General to immediately end the practice of allowing people in correctional facilities to be released into homelessness without a support plan.

“This situation was not unique or a mistake – we have heard this time and time again from community members. People are being dropped off in our community next to social services without any plan or accountability.”

Sohi said he wants the Edmonton Police Commission to conduct “a thorough investigation into what led to this failure to keep Edmontonians safe and whether it reflects systemic practices.”

Justin Bone, 36, is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the murders. (Justin Bone/Facebook)

Sohi said the details of the case are devastating and demonstrate a “disturbing lack of coordination” in the corrections system.

“It also demonstrates that Edmonton is a service hub for northern and central Alberta, and that our system is beyond capacity and unable to help people in desperate need,” said he declared.

“The RCMP released this individual into a system that they knew was already over capacity, and they left him there. That’s not right.”

The Alberta RCMP said Thursday it has launched a code of conduct review of its officers’ actions.

In an additional statement Friday, the RCMP provided more details.

“The review will look at decisions made by officers; the operational policies and procedures currently in place that guide such decisions; any gaps in support systems; and how we coordinate our responses with partner agencies where there are a host of social and legal factors involved,” the statement said.

“The Alberta RCMP is fully aware that not all questions answered by the police require a police response alone. Dynamic and complex calls for service, often involving mental health, addictions and repeated incarceration, require coordinated, multi-agency responses that can best address these societal issues. »

Ban Phuc Hoang, 61, was a longtime resident of Edmonton’s Chinatown where he owned and operated an electronics store. (Submitted by Hoang family)

Trang was beaten in a body shop on 98th Street; Hoang was assaulted inside his electronics store on the same street.

The killings sparked outrage over high crime rates in Chinatown, which has battled disorder for years.

Jolie Hoang, Hoang’s daughter, said she felt betrayed by both the RCMP and EPS.

“I feel helpless. I feel so defeated,” she said in an interview. “I don’t know who to trust anymore.”

Hoang said she didn’t understand why the police didn’t arrest Bone. RCMP officers who responded failed in their duty to protect the public, she said.

“As an officer, you are supposed to serve and protect,” she said in tears.

“A very, very high price”

Christina Trang, Hung Trang’s eldest daughter, echoed those pleas. She said her family was already grappling with her father’s senseless death.

Learning about Bone’s interactions with police in the days leading up to the murders added excruciating frustration to that grief, she said.

She wonders why Bone was released without ramifications for his alleged threats. She wants answers from the RCMP and city police, and clarification on police protocols for the release of parolees.

“For the RCMP to simply drop him off in Edmonton where he was not supposed to be is a complete distrust of the justice system,” she said.

Hung Trang, 64, worked in a body shop in Chinatown for more than 30 years and planned to retire later this year. (Submitted by Christina Trang)

RCMP said on May 15, officers from the Parkland Detachment responded to a complaint that Bone was making threats at an Alberta Beach home where he was staying after his release in late April from the Edmonton Remand Center.

Under his bail conditions, Bone was ordered to live in the Alberta Beach house while waiting for a bed at a recovery center in Edmonton.

But on May 15, Bone allegedly threatened the man he was staying with, prompting the landlord to tell police he wanted Bone to leave the house.

Officers determined the situation did not meet the threshold for charges, Parkland RCMP Insp. Mike Lokken said Thursday in a statement to CBC News.

The RCMP attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact Bone’s probation officer. RCMP officers then drove Bone to west Edmonton and left him there unattended, hoping he would access services in the area.

Three days later, he was arrested near the scene of the homicides in Chinatown.

The RCMP contacted the Director of Law Enforcement about the matter on June 7. The director decided that the case did not meet the threshold for external review under the Alberta Police Act.

In a statement Friday, a spokesperson for Alberta’s Department of Justice and Solicitor General said that while bail decisions are made by the courts, corrections social workers work with detainees prior to their release to ensure that they are housed and supported.

“While corrections staff cannot compel an inmate to engage or contribute to the release planning process, every effort is made by both corrections staff and partner community agencies to s ‘ensure that a detainee is not released onto the streets,’ the statement read. .

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Post expires at 9:43am on Tuesday June 21st, 2022