Calgary cop demands answers after bad experience at the border
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, October 12, 2016 5:13PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016 7:17PM MDT
A Calgary police officer who was accused of smuggling guns across the border and later cleared wants the Canadian Border Services Agency to investigate its own.
Mike Carroll was a police officer for 27 years and says his rights were violated and his reputation tarnished after his hobby landed him in hot water at the Canada-US border.
Carroll is a gun collector and two years ago was returning to Canada from Montana with his wife when they were stopped by officials at the Carway border crossing.
The couple says they offered border guards a list of gun parts that they bought at a gun show but the agents didn't take it and searched the vehicle.
That's when Carroll says gun parts and ammunition were seized and the couple was detained and questioned for over seven hours.
“For them to handcuff me and put me in a cell for three hours, it just seemed like they were trying to show what they could do,” he said.
They were not allowed to use the internet or even make a phone call.
“It was right from the beginning they were accusing me of gun smuggling. I was like what? Huh? Where did that idea even come from?” said Carroll.
“I think this is a third world country experience. I couldn’t believe this had happened in Canada by my own Canadian border service to Canadian citizens,” said Tamiko Lagerwaard.
Carroll launched a formal complaint and is still waiting for an explanation.
The only video proof of the interrogation was deleted just days after Carroll requested it.
CTV News reached out to the CBSA and it says footage isn't required to be kept past 30 days.
Hasna Shireen is a policy expert in civil liberties and says it’s unfair.
“You need to inform the person they have only 30 days to ask for the investigation record,” said Shireen.
Shireen says border agents sometimes have trouble balancing Canadian's rights versus protecting the country and adds that agent training should be paramount. “We have to train them extensively because they have this kind of huge power.”
Carroll says even though he's been cleared of any wrong doing he now faces extensive searches when crossing the border.
He says border officials also told Calgary police about the allegations.
Carroll was once an acting staff sergeant and he says he was demoted and subjected to an internal investigation. He says the allegations ruined his career.
CPS says the change in rank was part of a "deliberate strategy" to move acting members and not a direct result of the investigation.
The CBSA refused to comment on Carroll's case and says it takes every complaint seriously.
(With files from Jamie Mauracher)