By Nigel Maxwell, paNOW
A well-known man in Saskatchewan’s marathon and triathlon communities is alleging he was dropped off by police outside Saskatoon and left to find his own way home over the weekend.
Ken Thomas went to a concert last Saturday night in Saskatoon. Afterwards, he went to a bar on the city’s south end, near the intersection of Ruth Street and Lorne Avenue.
“I had a few drinks and I went outside for a cigarette and two police officers in a black SUV (approached me) and said I fit the description of someone who had been digging in vehicles, and they detained me,” he said.
Thomas said he was taken to an area off Highway 11 just south of Saskatoon and forced out of the vehicle. In an effort to keep warm, he said he ran back to the city. He noted it took him over an hour to get back home.
“I felt humiliated and my trust in the justice system has been shaken,” he said.
Saskatoon police told 650 CKOM in a statement that a formal complaint has been filed with the Police Complaints Commission.
“The Saskatoon Police Service considers allegations such as this to be very serious in nature,” the statement read.
“We will cooperate fully with their investigation to ensure that every effort is made to ensure a thorough and complete investigation. Part of that investigation will include the review of GPS logs that track the location of patrol vehicles at any given time, as well as the in-car camera video which is automatically activated when the back door of a patrol car is opened.”
In addition to competing in annual events like the Summit Run in Prince Albert or the Frank Dunn Triathlon, Thomas has also been an advocate for causes across the province and coaches for the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
“I talk to youth who have negative feelings about police and as a leader you are supposed to say everything is going to be OK, it’s a phase, but now what i am supposed to tell them?” Thomas asked.
He said he never attempted to resist arrest or argue with the officers, out of fear of being charged and possibly risking his opportunity to coach. Since the incident, he has reached out for legal advice.
A Facebook post by Thomas describing the alleged incident has generated hundreds of shares.
Some commenters on his post compared it to the death of Neil Stonechild in 1990. A 2004 RCMP inquiry into Stonechild’s death showed the teen was in police custody prior to his death, and the two officers involved were fired following the inquiry.