Edmonton police officer disciplined for discreditable conduct, use of force

·3 min read
An EPS vehicle has a designated parking spot in the City Centre Mall underground parkade.  (David Bajer/CBC - image credit)
An EPS vehicle has a designated parking spot in the City Centre Mall underground parkade. (David Bajer/CBC - image credit)

An officer with the Edmonton Police Service has been suspended for 30 hours without pay and must perform 60 hours of community service for his handling of an intoxicated man in December 2017.

Const. Marty Franco pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct, excessive use of force and insubordination at a disciplinary hearing last month.

Franco and two other constables were called out to Edmonton City Centre by security officers at the downtown mall who had arrested an intoxicated man, identified in the disciplinary decision only as BB.

When they arrived on scene, the man was lying on the floor of a holding room. Franco grabbed his arm and dragged him toward the rear of a police van that was parked in the mall parkade.

BB had trouble standing. While he was lying on the ground behind the police vehicle, he swung his arms out twice. When he sat up, Franco raised his fists in a mock boxing pose.

Franco and his partner pushed the man toward the back of the van. When he was climbing inside the vehicle, Franco delivered two knee strikes to BB's upper thigh.

Once BB was in the back of the van, Franco gestured for the benefit of mall security who were watching.

"He raised his arms in the air in a mock celebration pose," the decision says.

The officers took BB to the Hope Mission on a promise to appear for breaching a condition that he was to abstain from alcohol.

Discreditable conduct

Franco, who joined the police service in 2009, admitted that his mock boxing stance and celebration pose were "inappropriate" and amounted to discreditable conduct.

He also admitted the two knee strikes he delivered were an excessive use of force and constituted unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority.

Officers are expected to file a use-of-force report whenever force is used. Franco pleaded guilty to insubordination for not reporting the knee strikes to his commanding officer.

The presiding officer at the hearing accepted a joint sentencing recommendation and noted that he believed Franco's remorse was genuine.

Franco's lawyer noted that the constable and his wife donated $400 to a downtown agency last winter during a clothing appeal.

"He is aware of the plight of this vulnerable segment of society," defence lawyer Mike Danyluik said.

CBC News recorded Franco dealing with another intoxicated person in 2017 during an evening police ride-along.

"What are you doing over here?" Franco asked at the time. "You can't be round here. You know that. You're drunk."

The man mumbled that he was looking for the Hope Mission.

Cst. Marty Franco and his partners load an intoxicated man into a police vehicle to transport him to the Hope Mission in September 2017.
Cst. Marty Franco and his partners load an intoxicated man into a police vehicle to transport him to the Hope Mission in September 2017.(Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Franco and his partners loaded the man into a police van to take him there.

"That gentleman was absolutely and completely intoxicated," Franco said. "So he doesn't belong over here with these good people, walking around intoxicated."