Two Lethbridge police officers demoted for involvement in “meme gate”

Two Lethbridge police officers heard their fate today during a disciplinary hearing held at the Galt Museum.

Officers Matthew Rilkoff and David Easter have both been demoted from their rank of Sr. Constable Level 2 to First Class Constable Level 1 for their involvement in a social media chat room dubbed “Meme Militia” and “Meme Gate”.  
Each officer pleaded guilty on November 2nd of this year to participating in chat room discussions that took place over a four month period back in 2018 that disseminated disparaging memes of upper management of the Lethbridge Police Service and of Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips.

The officers pleaded guilty to four counts including; engaging in discreditable conduct, insubordination and neglect of duty. Two other counts were withdrawn.
Rilkoff and Easter submitted a joint statement of facts admitting that the communications were offensive and against LPS policies, and were quote: “profane, abusive and insulting” and targeted the LPS Executive, other officers and society in general.

In their joint submission both officers felt that a demotion would be a fair punishment and in the end, the Presiding Officer agreed, demoting both the officers by two grades for a period of one year beginning December of 2021.

The decision was based on both officers having exemplary records and on the precedence set by other police forces’ cases that were similar.

Three other LPS officers have been charged with misconduct in this same matter, two have now resigned and the remaining officer, Jason Moulton’s proceedings are still ongoing. He’ll find out the fate of his career on January 10th, 2022.

LPS is not able to provide further comment at this time in order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing process. We did however, reach out to MLA Shannon Phillips but she did not respond by airtime.

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Jeannette Rocher

Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Minnesota and Manitoba, Jeannette has had the opportunity to live in a variety of places including New York, Arizona, and Nevada. After completing college and a paid internship with CBC Winnipeg, Jeannette embarked on her journalism career by moving overseas to take a job on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. While overseas she covered stories in Fiji, Guam and Japan including the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan and its surrounding islands. She covered a mass shooting, an Earth quake, murder cases and other substantial court cases. In 2013 she moved to Alberta where she covered the devastating floods of High River and Medicine Hat for CTV News. She then went on to produce and host Go! Southern Alberta for Shaw TV. She now calls Miracle Channel home. In addition to reporting in the field, you can catch her anchoring daily weather reports, as well as longer interview segments on BCN, and the week-in-review show on BCN Weekends. 

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