HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Botched Raid Battle Expected To End
Pubdate: Tue, 29 Nov 2005
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Calgary Herald
Author: Emma Poole
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


A Calgary woman's five-year fight against several police officers who 
bungled a drug raid at her rented southwest home is expected to come 
to an end today.

Nancy Killian Constant has been battling with the police service 
since the Sept. 11, 2000 incident, which saw officers with a warrant 
burst into the home -- some with guns drawn. They failed to turn up any drugs.

Killian Constant is appealing through the Law Enforcement Review 
Board -- a quasi-judicial body -- the handling of her complaint to 
police about the incident. Final arguments are expected this morning.

"I want to know more about what happened. I want accountability," 
Killian Constant said Monday.

Several Calgary police officers testified at the hearing Monday they 
expected to find a large marijuana grow operation inside the home on 
Elbow Drive S.W.

"I was prepared for a long night. It was not the marijuana grow op it 
was expected to be," said Const. Chris Griesbach, who was assigned to 
collect exhibits from the home.

Griesbach recalled the faint smell of marijuana from the area near 
the family's hot tub, and said he saw what he believed to be three 
small marijuana plants.

The family denies the claim, and no drugs were seized from the home.

Staff Sgt. Carl DeSantis, who oversaw the warrant process on the 
night in question, told the board police followed proper procedure 
when they entered the home.

DeSantis said he did not draw his firearm and police were in and out 
of the house in a matter of nine minutes.

"I left my business card and apologized on behalf of the police 
service," he said of the moments after the incident.

DeSantis, who will face cross-examination today, said there was no 
indication leading up to the raid that there would be children inside the home.

Killian Constant's four children, aged four to 12, and her 
89-year-old grandmother were in the house at the time.

Her husband, Fernand, and the couple's lawyer were in the dining room 
discussing legal matters.

Const. Wes Deley, who was the first officer to enter the home, said 
he pulled his gun and ordered the residents to the ground.

"One of them said he was a lawyer and asked for a search warrant," 
said Deley, who also failed to turn up any drugs.

The officer at the heart of the complaint, Const. Ian Vernon, 
testified last March he detected the odour of marijuana on a visit to 
the home shortly before the bust, and was told by the landlord there 
had been hydroponic equipment on the premises.

He also told the board that the home had high electricity use readings.

After an investigation into the botched raid, two front-line 
constables, including Vernon, received minor reprimands for their mistakes.

The police service concluded the officers failed to do a 
comprehensive and objective investigation into a dispute between the 
family and the landlord just four days before the home was searched.

A decision in the case is expected to be rendered by the board at a later date.
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