A man charged in the hit-and-run death of a police officer has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A jury trial was to begin this week for Amir Abdulrahman on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett of the Calgary Police Service.
Police have said Harnett, who was 37, tried to stop an SUV on the evening of Dec. 31, 2020, when he noticed its licence plate didn’t match its registration. They said he was hit and dragged before he fell and was struck by another car.
Abdulrahman, who is now 20, was a passenger in the SUV.
He entered a plea of not guilty to first-degree murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter when he appeared in Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday.
With Harnett’s family out of the room, court played video of the officer being dragged as the vehicle sped off. He yelled “stop the car” several times before he fell away.
A teen who was the alleged driver is also charged with first-degree murder but cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act as he would have been 17 at the time. His trial is to begin Jan. 31.
Chelsea Goedhart, Harnett’s wife, said in a victim impact statement that she and her husband were at the peak of their lives a year ago as they prepared for the birth of their first child.
“I lost the love of my life … my best friend,” said Goedhart, who is raising her son alone.
“We were never going to get to be a family,” she said.
Goedhart said being a single parent is difficult and her child will never get to know his father.
“We remain alone. At the end of the day, there is no one coming through the door. My son’s innocence was taken before he was born.”
Harnett’s mother said her son was a man on a mission.
“He wanted to be a police officer and, more importantly, a peace officer. I love you forever,” Valerie Harnett said.
She addressed Abdulrahman who was sitting in the prisoner’s box.
“Andrew died just because he was doing his job protecting his community,” she said. “I sincerely hope you will take this time to reflect on our life and your future.”
—Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press