Body camera footage from slain Calgary police officer to be played at bail hearing

Sgt. Andrew Harnett was dragged 400 metres before he was flung from a fleeing SUV and that footage captured on his body-worn camera will be played in court during the bail hearing for the youth charged with first-degree murder in the death of the officer on New Year’s Eve, CBC News has learned. 

Prosecutor Doug Taylor told a youth court judge on Monday that the Crown will oppose bail for the 17-year-old, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

Taylor will play body-worn camera footage from two officers. He also indicated an intent to call witnesses.

There will almost certainly be a ban prohibiting the publication of any evidence presented at that hearing, which is now set to take place Jan. 19.

Taylor wouldn’t comment on what the footage shows. However, CBC News has also learned new details of Harnett’s death from sources close to the police investigation that helps explain why both the driver and passenger are facing charges of first-degree murder. 

Some of the details are disturbing.

Around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Harnett pulled over an SUV. After speaking with the driver, who police allege is the 17-year-old youth, Harnett was in the process of issuing tickets related to the driver’s graduated licence and headlights, which were not on. 

In the meantime, other officers arrived at the traffic stop.

The passenger, who police say was Amir Abdulrahman, 19, was wanted on four warrants, including one for assault and three for failure to comply with court orders.

As two officers were at the passenger side door dealing with Abdulrahman, he allegedly began shouting for his younger friend to take off. 

Amir Abdulrahman and a 17-year-old youth turned themselves in to Calgary police on Friday evening. (Calgary Police Service)

The SUV sped away, but Harnett was still attached to the vehicle. It’s unclear if he was holding on to the SUV or became stuck. 

For 400 metres and with the vehicle reaching speeds of up to 90 km/h, the driver attempted to push Harnett off the SUV while Abdulrahman grabbed the wheel.

Eventually, Harnett was flung into oncoming traffic. 

The body-worn cameras of at least three officers, including Harnett, captured the incident and will be played in court as Taylor tries to convince a judge not to grant bail.

Officer’s family en route to Calgary 

Abdulrahman will be back in court on Feb. 4 as his lawyer awaits disclosure. 

Kaysi Fagan, the lawyer for the youth, originally asked that the bail hearing take place Friday, but her client is in a 14-day quarantine and she told the judge he had a right to “be meaningfully present.” 

Harnett’s brother and mother are on their way to Calgary from Ontario for his funeral, which is being planned for this weekend. The details aren’t yet ironed out and are being planned in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. 

Harnett was a decorated officer with two Chief’s Awards for lifesaving over his 12-year career with the Calgary Police Service. He leaves behind a partner who is several months pregnant with the couple’s first child. 

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