Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/1/2010 (4284 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
His blood-alcohol level was nearly triple the legal limit. He was driving his motorcycle into oncoming traffic. He crashed into the median, injuring both himself and his helmetless female passenger.
And he walked away with a $1,500 fine, a one-year licence suspension and continued employment as a Winnipeg police officer.
The facts of Const. Daniel Aminot's August 2009 guilty plea to impaired driving and sentencing have not been reported until now. But the case is stirring debate about whether police officers should be held to a different standard than other citizens -- and forfeit their badge if convicted of a crime.
Officially, Winnipeg police will only tell the Free Press Aminot remains on "active duty" since the conclusion of his case. Given the fact a judge took away his right to drive until this coming summer, it's presumed he's behind a desk.
Police Chief Keith McCaskill declined a request from the Free Press to comment about the specific process followed in this case.
The case was originally set for trial later this year, only to be brought forward and placed on a docket with dozens of others last August for a sudden guilty plea and sentencing.
That helped it escape media coverage and public scrutiny -- until the Free Press learned about it last week.
Aminot, 45, is hardly the only police officer currently on the job with a criminal record.
But Rod Sudbury, a former Winnipeg police officer who is now vice-president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the facts of his case are especially troubling.
"His (blood-alcohol) reading was very, very high," said Sudbury.
Aminot had spent the evening of May 7, 2007, on a date with a female friend. He was two years into his policing career at the time. The couple shared two carafes of wine at a Corydon Avenue restaurant, then went to The Keg on McGillivray Boulevard for more drinks. They left just after midnight on the back of his motorcycle -- with Aminot turning west on McGillivray while driving in the eastbound lane, court was told
He avoided hitting oncoming traffic but crashed into the centre median after travelling a short distance. His girlfriend was thrown off the bike, striking her head on the ground. She suffered a concussion, along with road rash and various cuts and bruises. Aminot was wearing a helmet and wasn't seriously injured.
Police requested a blood sample from Aminot nearly three hours after the crash.
"He was making a number of statements, most of which were rambling, given his impaired state," said special Crown prosecutor Robert Tapper. However, Aminot agreed to submit to the request. "Ya, I gotta do the right thing," he told police.
Aminot's blood-alcohol level was .20. The legal limit to drive is .08. Tapper said it was likely quite a bit higher at the time of the crash.
"He has no excuse for being on that bike having consumed alcohol. He feels absolutely horrible for what he's done. He has learned an unbelievable lesson," defence lawyer Richard Wolson told court.
Aminot has not had a sip of alcohol since that day and has come to grips with the fact he had a serious drinking problem, said Wolson.
He has also found religion, attending weekly church services, and has started doing volunteer work with groups such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"I am truly sorry for what happened. It's totally not like me. It's been a life-changing experience for me, for the better," Aminot told court.
Provincial court Judge Marvin Garfinkel noted there was case precedence for a real jail sentence -- but agreed to go along with the joint recommendation between Tapper and Wolson for the financial penalty and licence suspension.
"A police officer facing an impaired driving offence is going to face consequences far greater than the fine the court is going to impose," Garfinkel said.
Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said he supports the decision by police executive to keep Aminot on the job.
"Police are not perfect. Police are going to make mistakes. It's going to happen from time to time, but we do the best we can. But we are human and with humanity comes those types of frailties," he said. Sutherland said Aminot sought the help he needed and wants to now "do the best he can." He said the inability to drive will not affect Aminot's job.
"There's lots of roles in the police service you can fulfil without having to drive," Sutherland said.
"Believe me, we have a lot of need in a wide variety of areas that don't require any driving."
Former Winnipeg police chief Jack Ewatski raised eyebrows back in 2001 when he suggested any police officer convicted of a crime should be fired.
"If somebody intentionally goes out and breaks the law and they're convicted, then they should lose the privilege of being a police officer," Ewatski said.
However, Ewatski conceded each case would be viewed "on its own merits and all the circumstances surrounding it."
Sudbury said MADD would welcome a blanket policy -- especially concerning drunk driving -- that would see officers lose their job if found guilty. But he concedes that likely could never happen.
"If you're not going to take away everybody's job who is convicted of impaired driving, then you probably shouldn't do it for one category," said Sudbury. He notes some police officers -- such as Derek Harvey-Zenk -- "fall on their swords" and resign following a conviction.
In Harvey-Zenk's case, he killed a woman while driving recklessly.
-- with files from Gabrielle Giroday
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.