The driver who was previously found guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Calgary Police Officer Sgt. Andrew Harnett on New Year's Eve 2020, will serve 12 years in prison.
The now 20-year-old man, who can only be identified as A.M., because he was a youth when the incident occurred, was less than two weeks away from turning 18 when the incident happened.
Court of King's Bench Justice Anna Loparco had previously ruled in May of this year that the man would be sentenced as an adult, underlining that the maximum sentence for a youth for manslaughter, which was three years, was not sufficient. Crown Prosecutor, Mike Ewenson had previously argued that the man be sentenced between 11 to 13 years in prison.
However, A.M.'s defence lawyer, Zachary Al-Khatib, argued that his client should receive a seven-and-half-year sentence.
On the evening of New Year's Eve 2020, Sgt. Harnett had conducted a routine traffic stop in Northeast Calgary, on an SUV. He had pulled the vehicle over due to no headlights. The driver of the SUV, A.M., fled the traffic stop, with Sgt. Harnett clinging to the side of the car. Harnett was dragged approximately 400 meters as the car sped up to 100 kilometres before Harnett was dislodged and fell into oncoming traffic.
Amir Abdulrahman, the passenger in the car at the time pleaded guilty to manslaughter and in January 2022 received a five-year sentence.
A.M. was previously charged with first-degree murder but ultimately convicted of manslaughter.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Calgary Police Service released a statement following the sentencing.
"It has been nearly three years since Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve of 2020. Since then, the adult passenger was found guilty of his role, as was the youth driver who was sentenced today as an adult. No length or condition of sentence will ever be sufficient to counter the harm that was caused," the statement read in part.
The statement also underlined that in light of the increasing in-the-line-of-duty deaths of both municipal, provincial, and federal police officers over the past several months, law enforcement needs, 'the protections of the law'.
"...This issue needs the serious attention of the courts, our elected representatives & every member of the community. There needs to be strong deterrents for violence committed against police & peace officers in the execution of their duties in Canada."
At the time of his death, Sgt. Harnett's wife was expecting their first child in the summer of 2021. Harnett was born in Hagersville, Ontario and served for 12 years in the Calgary Police Service in District 5.