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Lethbridge officers admit to most misconduct allegations in MemeGate investigation


A professional conduct hearing into the alleged creation and distribution of offensive memes involving members of the Lethbridge Police Service began Tuesday with an admission of guilt on several accusations.

The memes targeted the former chief of the LPS and deputy police chief.

On the first day of the hearing that's expected to last three days, Sgt. Jason Moulton, Const. David Easter and Const. Matt Rilkoff all admitted to at least four of the counts against them, challenged another — that they utilized oppressive or tyrannical conduct toward a subordinate— and an additional two counts were withdrawn.

The admissions were on counts of:

  • The use of profane, abusive or insulting language toward a member of a police service or the public;
  • Insubordination through words or actions;
  • Neglect of duty by failing to report a matter that was their duty to report; and,
  • Abetting or knowingly being an accessory to a contravention by another peace officer.

Moulton also admitted to neglecting, without lawful excuse to promptly and diligently perform your duties as a police officer. Easter and Rikoff say they are not guilty of that allegation.

The hearing for the other two officers — Const. Keon Woronuk and Const. Derek Riddell — has been pushed to Feb. 3, 2022 and both announced Tuesday morning their intention to resign from the force.

A sixth officer, who has not been identified, has been charged with discreditable conduct and neglect of duty in connection with the investigation.


The proposed sanction for both Easter and Rilkoff is a demotion within rank for one year that would mean a $15,000 decrease in salary for that year.

"Things like this tend to cause really good officers to say 'where's this agency going? Where's the leadership? What's going on?'" said Doug King, professor of justice studies at Mount Royal University.

"It can erode internal moral to a point that you had better address it fairly quickly."

The decision for those two officers will be made on December 16, while Sgt. Moulton's sentencing hearing is set for December 15.

In 2018 the Edmonton police service began investigating allegations that several Lethbridge police officers were sending around offensive memes in a group chat called the 'Meme Militia'.

To join the group, members reportedly had to share their own jokes.

Those memes have not been made public, but they've been described by those who have seen them as profane, with some even poking fun of mental and physical disabilities.

"It was a sign that said basically we don't want to follow the rules," said King.

"When police agencies and police officers say they don't want to follow the rules, you've got not just a few bad apples, but you've got a tainted internal culture." Top Stories

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