Arrest warrant issued for witness in Edmonton constable's disciplinary hearing

A key witness involved in a police disciplinary hearing is now the subject of an arrest warrant after she failed to show up for her own court date.

At the disciplinary hearing in May, Crystal Fox testified against Const. Nathan Downing, who is accused of assault and using racial slurs during an arrest in March 2015.

Under cross-examination, Fox told the hearing that Downing had arrested her two weeks earlier.

Court records show Fox was charged on May 14 for driving with a suspended licence.

When she did not show up for her June 11 court appearance, the judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

In March 2018, Downing was charged under the Police Act with unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority, discreditable conduct and deceit in relation to the arrest of Fox’s neighbour, Nasser El Hallak. Fox has said she witnessed the assault.

Despite calls for Downing to be reassigned, he remained on patrol duty until Fox’s testimony. Three days later, police said Downing was on pre-approved leave.

Downing will return to work at the end of June, when his duty status will be clarified, a spokesperson said. 

Fox, the Edmonton Police Service and counsel for Downing declined comment.

Downing’s co-accused, Const. Nicholas Talvio, is charged with discreditable conduct, neglect of duty and deceit.

The disciplinary hearing is scheduled to resume on July 24.

Const. Nathan Downing denies assaulting Nasser El Hallak during a 2015 arrest. (Edmonton Police Commission/Submitted by Nasser El Hallak)

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