Police investigate allegation of 'starlight tour'
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013 1:07PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 6:34AM CST
Saskatoon police are investigating after receiving a complaint that a 19-year-old man was allegedly dropped off on the outskirts of the city by a police officer.
At 1:39 a.m. Tuesday the police watch commander received a complaint from a woman who claimed Drayton Bull, 19, was picked up by police, dropped off on the outskirts of town, and forced to walk home.
The practice, known as a starlight tour, gained infamy in 2003 when the provincial government announced an inquiry into the death of 17-year-old Neil Stonechild.
The drop-off was alleged to have happened sometime Monday evening. In a phone interview with CTV Saskatoon, Bull said he was walking along Avenue H after visiting and having a few drinks with his brother. The Grade 12 student said he recalls seeing a police car pass him on the lonely street, and then someone dressed in black came up behind him.
He cannot say for sure the person was a police officer. “It was a gut feeling,” he said.
Bull said he’s been in situations before where police assume the worst about him based on race. “You can have an aboriginal walking down the street and the cops will think he’s suspicious and they’ll search him,” he said.
The Saskatoon Police Service’s Professional Standards Division has launched an investigation and is currently trying to contact the woman and the 19-year-old man to get a formal complaint.
In a news release, police said all marked patrol vehicles have GPS units which allow police to track the location of their cars at any time. The initial investigation showed that no patrol units left city limits during the time frame of the incident. Police also haven’t found a 19-year-old as the subject of a computer check during that time.
“We’re waiting on a formal complaint. Until we have that we’re doing as much as we can on our end,” said Kelsie Fraser, a Saskatoon Police Service spopkesperson.
Police have begun to check in-car cameras to see if Bull was picked up by officers. The video cameras record automatically once a patrol car door is opened.