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 Two other counts were withdrawn.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.