CPS officer on trial for harassment previously stalked 'romantic rival': disciplinary decision

·5 min read
CPS Const. Jacki MacNeil has been ordered to go back to trial on charges, including criminal harassment. CBC News has learned she was previously convicted under the Alberta Police Act for harassing a woman and using police databases to search her personal information.  (Calgary Police Youth Foundation - image credit)
CPS Const. Jacki MacNeil has been ordered to go back to trial on charges, including criminal harassment. CBC News has learned she was previously convicted under the Alberta Police Act for harassing a woman and using police databases to search her personal information. (Calgary Police Youth Foundation - image credit)

A Calgary police officer who is headed to trial on charges of criminal harassment has a history of troubling behaviour toward women she sees as romantic rivals and stalked one woman to the point that she left the province, according to an internal disciplinary decision obtained by CBC News.

In April, Const. Jacki MacNeil, a 16-year member with the Calgary Police Service, was sent back to trial on charges of harassment and unwanted communication stemming from accusations she targeted a woman she believed was connected to her boyfriend in 2018.

A year ago, MacNeil's charges stemming from incidents in 2018 were stayed because of lost evidence. But five weeks ago, a higher court judge ruled the constable was either "negligent" or "strategic" in pursuing the video at the centre of the dropped charges. The judge sent the case back to trial. The next court date is June 24.

But it's not the first time MacNeil has been accused of harassing women who dated her on-again, off-again boyfriend, also a CPS officer.

'I was scared'

One of those women is Sabrina Naprawa, who was victimized by MacNeil in 2015 when the officer harassed her through text messages, followed her, took photos of where she lived and set up a fake dating account to lure her to a meeting spot.

In addition to the harassment, MacNeil also admitted to searching Naprawa's personal information on internal CPS databases 13 times.

"Any time a police officer comes after you, they have the ability to access your file online, they can find out where you live … and they carry a gun," said Naprawa in a phone interview with CBC News.

"I was scared."

MacNeil 'actively employed' by CPS

The details of MacNeil's harassment of Naprawa come from retired superintendent Paul Manuel's 2020 disciplinary decision after she pleaded guilty to two charges — discreditable conduct and insubordination — under Alberta's Police Act.

Naprawa says she's upset that MacNeil is accused of victimizing other women after her.

"I knew I wasn't going to be the only one. That's the only reason I came forward, and I told [police] multiple times that the only reason I'm doing this is because nobody else should have to go through this."

When asked if she wanted to provide a comment or statement, MacNeil declined.

"I am unable to comment on matters before the court as instructed by my lawyer," she wrote in an email.

CPS also did not want to comment on the case and would only say MacNeil "is actively employed by the Calgary Police Service."

'I would have been fired' 

That's a big part of the reason Naprawa came forward to tell her story. She's frustrated MacNeil is still able to be employed as a police officer.

"I would have been fired," said Naprawa. "She's trained to uphold the law. I would have liked to see them stop her from working."

In late 2014 and early 2015, Naprawa briefly dated MacNeil's sometimes-boyfriend.

The current criminal charges before the courts relate to allegations from four years ago.

Over a seven-month period in 2018, police allege MacNeil excessively contacted the victim and threatened to ruin her reputation both personally and professionally.

Past incidents

In his 2020 decision related to Naprawa's case, Manuel wrote that MacNeil had a history of "similar behaviour" and that she had been warned in the past about the inappropriateness of her actions.

The related behaviour, wrote Manuel, was "addressed at the supervisory level" in past instances.

In Naprawa's case, MacNeil's contact started out with text messages but "quickly turned into her getting really aggressive" and ramped up over several months.

"She embarked on a course of harassment against a person she saw as a romantic rival," wrote Manuel in his decision.

CPS cellphone used in harassment

After Naprawa asked MacNeil to stop communicating, the officer set up a fake dating account and pretended to be a lawyer interested in going on a date with Naprawa.

The two exchanged cellphone numbers.

MacNeil, pretending to be the suitor, made plans to meet Naprawa and then didn't show up, following her home instead.

She texted, apologizing. It was later determined that MacNeil was using a CPS-issued cellphone.

Naprawa reported MacNeil to police. The CPS domestic conflict unit investigated, but ultimately, the Crown's office decided not to lay charges.

'Motivated by jealousy'

A year later, Naprawa says, an investigator with the professional standards section contacted her, saying MacNeil would be facing internal charges under the Alberta Police Act.

Manuel noted that MacNeil had gone from being an "exceptional" officer who went "above and beyond" in her investigations to displaying "disturbing" and "unacceptable" behaviour.

The officer's "campaign of harassment" lasted months and was "motivated by jealousy."

During the plea and disciplinary hearing, MacNeil never apologized to Naprawa and did not seem to be remorseful, Manuel noted.

Target of MacNeil's 'scorn'

The presiding officer pointed out that Naprawa had experienced "psychological trauma" and moved out of province, partly because of the harassment she had experienced.

"She innocently entered into this relationship thus becoming a target of Const. [MacNeil's] scorn," said Manuel.

For those reasons, the presiding officer said MacNeil "must be dealt swiftly and harshly."

In 2020, Manuel imposed a rank demotion for one year and issued a one-week suspension without pay.

"I just wish that they had handled it back in 2015," said Naprawa. "I wish that she had gotten some of the help she needs and that they had found a way to prevent this from happening."

"It should have stopped with me."

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