A Winnipeg police officer is facing drunk-driving charges after being pulled over by RCMP near Headingley late last year.
Leslie McRae, 41, a 10-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service, is charged with refusing to provide a breath sample and having care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired.
McRae — who showed "signs of intoxication" when stopped at about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 — was off duty at the time of the arrest, RCMP said Wednesday, adding he was transported to the Headingley RCMP detachment and refused to provide a breath sample.
The province's police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, was notified about the incident at the time, and chose to monitor the investigation rather than conduct its own.
The incident in Headingley was one of two referred to by WPS Chief Danny Smyth in a hastily-called news conference in late November, after the city force was accused of not releasing information about the arrest until it was reported in the media a day later. Another city officer was arrested on impaired-driving charges earlier that week, after a vehicle struck a fence in West Kildonan.
The incident also came shortly after the arrest of Winnipeg police Const. Justin Holz in connection with a fatal hit and run in October 2017. Cody Severight, 23, died after he was struck by a vehicle on Main Street.
When asked in November whether there's a culture of binge drinking among Winnipeg police officers, Smyth said: "The vast majority do not engage in this kind of behaviour."
"These officers will be held accountable for their conduct in criminal proceedings and regulatory proceedings," he said. "I feel terrible about this. I expect better conduct of officers."
McRae has been reassigned to administrative duties, a WPS spokesman said Wednesday.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Updated on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 4:58 PM CST: Updates