From Alberta Serious Incident Response Team: RCMP acted reasonably in shooting fatality during arrest
On Jan. 7, 2017, ASIRT was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 27-year-old man during an attempted arrest by the RCMP that same day.
During a planned entry into a Stoney Nakoda First Nation residence to locate the man and two others suspected of involvement in a recent homicide, a confrontation occurred that resulted in the man being shot by an RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) officer.
ASIRT interviewed police and civilian witnesses, including the individuals present in the home that day and the involved officers. As well, the crime scene was examined, and photographs, radio communications and all available video were seized. ASIRT’s investigation is complete.
Having reviewed the investigation, executive director Susan Hughson, QC, concluded there were no reasonable grounds, nor reasonable suspicion, to believe a police officer committed a criminal offence.
On Jan. 7, 2017, RCMP executed several arrest warrants at residences on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in search of three men, wanted for a murder that had occurred six days earlier. At the time, RCMP had information that the 27-year-old man had also been in possession of a firearm, which violated a court-ordered prohibition in effect until 2025. As such, the execution of the warrants was deemed to be high risk.
At approximately 4 p.m., ERT simultaneously sent teams to execute the warrants at two neighbouring homes, one being the home of the family of the 27-year-old man and his brother, also wanted in relation to the same homicide. The father of the men met the officers at the doorway to the residence. Officers located the brother inside on the first floor and arrested him without incident. As the officers proceeded further into the home, several other people were located and contained on the main level while others emerged from the basement. When asked whether anyone was still in the basement, the officers were told no.
A number of officers went down to clear the basement, announcing that they were police and that they had a warrant. As they moved along an interior wall towards a doorway in the basement, a man, later confirmed to have been the 27-year-old man, yelled at the officers to get out and leave him alone. A single shot was then fired from the opposite side of the wall, penetrating through drywall and narrowly missing the officers. The officers called out “shots fired”, returned to the main floor and, after throwing a tear gas canister into the basement, evacuated the residence.
At this point, officers were aware that they were dealing with an armed man and took up positions to contain the residence after everyone had been moved to safety. At this point, the RCMP would have had the benefit of time and resources.
One officer went towards the treeline on the west side of the residence to establish a rear sniper point. He positioned himself behind an old washing machine approximately 12 metres away from the house. While doing so, a gunshot was heard, believed to have come from the southwest corner of the basement near the basement window closest to the officer, and the officer reported hearing the sound of breaking glass.
Almost immediately, a woman climbed out of the window. As the officer yelled commands for her to walk towards him, the 27-year-old man emerged from the same basement window with a shotgun in his hands, carried at waist level and pointing in the direction of the officer and the young woman. The officer fired a single shot from his rifle, striking the 27-year-old man in the torso, causing him to collapse to the ground. Other ERT members moved in to secure the man and the shotgun, and to render emergency aid.
With the tear gas coming out of the basement window, RCMP moved the man and placed him on a jacket on the snow-covered ground to prevent hypothermia. The RCMP loaded the man into an RCMP vehicle and transported him to an ambulance waiting a short distance away, as the house and scene had not yet been cleared and confirmed safe by ERT officers. These officers re-entered the residence and found it empty.
The man was transported to a Calgary hospital where he was declared deceased. He sustained a single gunshot wound to the abdomen that injured internal organs and his spinal cord. More significantly, it cut through the main abdominal artery. This resulted in substantial hemorrhage and death. Toxicology was positive for methamphetamine.
The man’s gun, a 12-gauge tactical shotgun, was recovered loaded with three unfired shells. The pump action was in the forward firing position.
Section 25 of the Criminal Code states that a police officer is authorized to use as much force as is reasonably necessary in the execution of his or her duties. When necessary, an officer is entitled to resort to lethal force where there are, subjectively and objectively, grounds to believe that the person presents a risk of imminent bodily harm or death to the officer or another person. Lastly, an officer may use lethal force to prevent flight in limited circumstances.
The evidence is unequivocal that the 27-year-old man called out and fired upon the officers as they descended the stairs to clear the basement. The only other person in the basement was the unarmed woman who had exited the residence just ahead of the man. The woman confirmed that, although she did not see the events leading up to the officer-involved shooting, she immediately turned after the gunshot and saw officers approach the man and kick the shotgun away from the man as he laid on the ground.
Both objectively and subjectively, the man presented a risk of imminent grievous bodily harm or death to the officer, and potentially to the woman who would have been in the line of fire. The officer was lawfully placed and acting in the lawful execution of his duty. In the circumstances, the force used was both reasonable and authorized under the Criminal Code. There being no grounds to believe that an offence was committed by a police officer, no charges will be laid.
ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person.
Vegas dominates St. Louis 6-4, one win from West’s top seed
EDMONTON — Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play Thursday night.
Vegas would be the West’s No. 1 seed with a win against Colorado on Saturday. The team that went to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final and was eliminated after a questionable call in Game 7 against San Jose looks capable of winning it all.
“We came into Edmonton wanting to play our best hockey, whether that got us three wins or no wins,” Stone said. “So long as we’re playing well, we feel confident against anyone.”
Despite leading the conference when the NHL season was shut down in March, defending champion St. Louis can finish no higher than third and needs to beat Dallas on Sunday to avoid the No. 4 seed.
“I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easy coming in here for these round-robin games,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Our compete level has to come way up. … We have to get to another level Sunday.”
The Golden Knights dominated the Blues in each team’s second game, outshooting them 38-17. St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington was sharp early and made 32 saves but wound up getting shelled.
Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore each scored twice for Vegas, while defenceman Zach Whitecloud and Stone added a goal each. Tuch also had an assist on Whitecloud’s goal.
After Robin Lehner won Vegas’ first game against Dallas, Marc-Andre Fleury was solid in making 13 saves against St. Louis.
“Tonight never really felt in doubt,” Stone said. “I thought we played as good a 60 minutes as we could.”
Like the East’s top-seeded Boston Bruins, who they beat in the 2019 Cup Final, the Blues have some work to do before moving into an elimination series. They got two goals from defenceman Colton Parayko, David Perron’s second in two games and one from Troy Brouwer, who was inserted into the lineup amid several injuries.
NOTES: Scoring forward Vladimir Tarasenko, forward Robert Thomas and defenceman Carl Gunnarsson were all scratched for the Blues. Berube said Tarasenko’s absence was precautionary. … Max Pacioretty was again out for the Golden Knights. … Neither Ryan Reaves nor Lehner took a knee during the anthems after doing so before the Dallas game.
For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The Associated Press
Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19
EDMONTON — The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta says jury selection and jury trials will resume next month, but most won’t be in courtrooms.
The court says on its website that proceedings will start Sept. 8, after they were postponed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most courtrooms and jury deliberation rooms, including the Edmonton Law Courts and the Calgary Courts Centre, are not designed to ensure adequate physical distancing for everyone.
The court says the trials will, for the most part, be held offsite.
It says approximately 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres.
Jury summonses are currently being prepared for trials starting in September and will be issued shortly.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020
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