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Edmonton family 'traumatized' by police tactical siege in false kidnapping case


A north Edmonton man says he's "disgusted" by the actions of a police tactical squad after officers busted his door, swore at his parents and pointed guns at his kids last week.

"They were so ignorant, so rude, so unprofessional," James Potts told CTV News Edmonton Tuesday.

"I just can't believe how this tactical team treated my family and my kids. It's unbelievable."

The siege happened last Thursday around 5 p.m. at the home Potts shares with his parents in the Kilkenny neighbourhood. There were five kids in the home and garage at the time.

Potts says he just left when he saw Edmonton Police Service tactical officers staging near his house.

Potts rushed back to the residence after seeing police drive an armoured vehicle with a front-mounted battering ram into his front door.

"I'm freaking out. My kids are in the house, my parents are in the house. I just left here so I know there couldn't be anything going on, they must have had the wrong house," he explained.

"I was taken to the ground at gunpoint. Basically ordered me to the ground or they were going to shoot me."

The takedown was captured on the family's security cameras. Several officers can be seen and heard ordering the kids onto the ground at gunpoint.

At one point an officer pulls the T-shirt off Potts' 15-year-old son while telling him to get down on his stomach. Another officer zip tied his hands.

"Oh my God, why are you treating my grandkids like this?" Potts' mother is heard asking.

"We're not going to hurt you," an officer told one of the children.

At one point, a different police officer is heard telling Potts' dad, "shut your f—king mouth! Come over here now!" after he yelled at the officers.

Tactical officers clear a home in the Kilkenny neighbourhood in north Edmonton on November 2, 2023. (Credit: James Potts)


RCMP said the officers were sent to the house as part of a "possible kidnapping" call that Mounties in Fort Saskatchewan received earlier that day.

"The complainants reported that they received a text from their son advising that he needed $1,500, and was being threatened with a gun to his head and a knife to his stomach," Cpl. Troy Savinkoff wrote in a statement to CTV News Edmonton.

Savinkoff said police identified two homes where the victim may be and tactical teams from RCMP and EPS entered each at the same time.

"Although the victim was not located, RCMP believe the victim had been in the residences prior in the day," he wrote.

"After continued efforts, RCMP did locate the victim at a third location in Edmonton. The victim was safe and not kidnapped."

Savinkoff didn't speculate on why the person made the false claims but said Mounties are now investigating the case as one of public mischief.

Savinkoff believes the officers acted in "good faith" and said Potts' family is the victim of the person who "led astray" police who were trying to help.

"It's really unfortunate. Those officers were going into that residence with the best intentions, thinking they were saving someone's lives," he said. "And they were doing it in such a way to minimize the risk to them…it's fortunate nobody was hurt."

Potts said he received an apology from the RCMP officer in charge and has been provided with a number to call to claim the damages to his home.

He said he hasn't heard from anyone at EPS.

"I can't even believe that the police think they can get away with these actions. Who holds these people accountable?" he asked.

EPS shared a statement with CTV News Edmonton Tuesday stating RCMP is leading on the file.

"Responding officers had reason to believe that the victim faced imminent, severe bodily harm or death," spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout stated.

"Responding officers in this position do not have the luxury of time, and must operate on the best information they have at the time to preserve life."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk and CTV National News' Bill Fortier Top Stories

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