CALGARY – A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the death of a Calgary police officer is to be released to a halfway house after being granted day parole.
Amir Abdulrahman, 22, was sentenced to five years in prison last year for his actions as a passenger in the hit-and-run death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett.
Harnett died in hospital on Dec. 31, 2020, after being dragged by a fleeing SUV and falling into the path of an oncoming car.
Harnett, who was 37, tried to stop the SUV after he noticed its licence plate didn’t match its registration.
The officer fell when the vehicle sped off as he was scuffling with the driver. He was dragged before being struck by a second, unrelated vehicle on the road.
Abdulrahman and the driver, who cannot be identified because he was 17 at the time, were charged with first-degree murder.
The teen was also convicted of manslaughter last year and his sentencing hearing is ongoing.
The Parole Board of Canada denied full parole for Abdulrahman on Thursday, but approved for him to spend six months living in community-based residential facility, or halfway house.
The board’s decision said Abdulrahman is at a low to moderate risk to reoffend.
“While (Abdulrahman’s) offence is very serious in nature resulting in the death of the victim, (he) has taken a number of steps to address areas of risk throughout (his) incarceration,” the parole board wrote in its decision.
“(Abdulrahman) will not present an undue risk to society if released on day parole and (his) release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating (his) reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen.”
The board acknowledged the “significant harm and trauma caused to the victim’s family,” but determined Abdulrahman has displayed “regret and remorse” over his actions.
Abdulrahman has demonstrated a high level of accountability and motivation to change his life, the decision noted.
The board considered many factors in its decision, including Abdulrahman’s criminal and social history, progress made while incarcerated, behaviour behind bars and community supports he has.
“Since your sentence has began, you have not demonstrated any concerning institutional behaviour,” the board said.
Abdulrahman grew up in a traditional Muslim family. He maintains a close relationship with his parents and siblings. He has expressed interest in going back to work at his family’s flooring company, the decision noted.
His brother told the board Abdulrahman is working at “bettering himself” and said he is a “completely different” person now.
Abdulrahman asked for full parole with plans to move in with his parents. Correctional Service of Canada opposed the full parole release but supported a release on day parole.
“Correctional Service of Canada assesses that it may be difficult for (Abdulrahman) to integrate back into the city,” the decision said.
Correctional Service of Canada said that Abdulrahman has a limited criminal history, but does have a short pattern of associating with negative peers and reacting with violence when he felt disrespected.
The agency said it is likely that immaturity and poor consequential decision-making played a large role in Abdulrahman’s criminal history.
Calgary police opposed Abdulrahman’s release.
The parole board said Abdulrahman must refrain from having contact with those involved in criminal activity.
He cannot have contact with Harnett’s family, the police division where Harnett worked and the co-accused in the case. He is also prohibited from using drugs.
— By Brittany Hobson in Winnipeg
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2022.
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