Al Azan Shah Muhammad, the teenager who killed Calgary police Sergeant Andrew Harnett, can now be publicly identified following the expiration of a publication ban that had protected his identity.
Muhammad, who was 17 at the time of the crime, was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Sergeant Harnett after being initially charged with first-degree murder. On New Year’s Eve 2020, Muhammad fled a traffic stop, resulting in Sergeant Harnett being dragged for about 400 metres before falling into the path of an oncoming car. Muhammad then fled the scene.
Sergeant Harnett had pulled over Muhammad’s Infinity SUV for not having its lights on. After discovering Muhammad did not have his license, Sergeant Harnett collected identification from the front-seat passenger, Amir Abdulrahman, and found out he was wanted on warrants.
Muhammad told his passengers that there were drugs in the vehicle and expressed concern about the police discovering them, which would lead to his arrest. Abdulrahman later confirmed to authorities that Muhammad was worried about the police finding the drugs and arresting him.
At trial, Justice Anna Loparco sentenced Muhammad to 12 years in prison as an adult, citing that the three-year maximum sentence for a youth convicted of manslaughter would not be sufficient to hold him accountable. Muhammad was given four years of credit for the time he had already served.
Abdulrahman pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2021 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was granted day parole in May.
Following the adult sentence, the media were allowed to identify Muhammad, but Justice Loparco extended the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) ban to cover the 30-day appeal period. The province’s top court confirmed on Monday that an appeal has not been filed.
Sergeant Harnett left behind a pregnant spouse, who has since given birth to their son.
Body-worn camera footage from all three officers involved in the incident was played at Muhammad’s trial, showing the police car chasing after the fleeing SUV and Muhammad attempting to push Sergeant Harnett off the vehicle.