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Global News Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt is back with Crime Beat episode 10


We’ve all heard the saying “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Usually this is used to describe a mishap that was just waiting for someone to come along. Sometimes it describes a falling tree or a wash-out on the road ahead. But sometimes it’s a person or people… with evil intensions… lurking and waiting for a victim to come along.

This is the tragedy of Mark Mariani. He was having a great day, maybe the best in a long time, when circumstances lead him to a place he’d never return from.

Here’s Global News Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt with the 10th instalment of her hit podcast Crime Beat.

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Machete-wielding man seriously injured during arrest




From The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team

Man seriously injured during arrest by Calgary police

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding injuries sustained by a 35-year-old man during an encounter with Calgary Police Service (CPS) officers on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019.

At approximately 4:05 a.m., officers were called to a parking lot of a shopping complex in the 200 block of Shawville Boulevard SE following a report about a man armed with a bat and acting erratically.

ASIRT’s investigation has included the seizure of Body Worn Camera (BWC) video, which is still being reviewed and analyzed. The availability of this type of evidence can provide critical information and context.

Upon arrival, officers located a man near several outdoor picnic tables and pulled up to this location. The BWC video from involved officers confirmed that as a uniformed officer exited a marked police vehicle, the man immediately started moving towards the officer, brandishing a large machete in his right hand and a small folding knife in his left hand, as the officer backed away. At 4:08 a.m., as the man continued to close the distance, the officer fired his service pistol and the man was struck in the lower torso and fell to the ground in a seated position, still armed with both the machete and the knife.

The man continued to wave the weapons while seated on the pavement, as officers continued to try and direct the man to surrender. Attempts to negotiate with the man continued as additional officers arrived. In an attempt to disarm the man, an Arwen less-lethal launcher, which fires plastic rounds, was deployed multiple times — but it didn’t succeed in disarming the man, who refused to drop the weapons. The tactical unit arrived and tried to negotiate with the man, who continued to refuse to put down his weapons. At approximately 7 a.m., tactical officers used a PepperBall launcher, which fires projectiles dispersing pepper powder, and a CEW, commonly referred to as a Taser, to disarm the man. This allowed officers to move in and take the man into custody so his injuries could be safely treated.

The man was transported to hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. It was determined that as a result of this incident he had sustained a broken femur, and penetrating wound(s) as a result of the discharge of the firearm and/or the Arwen less-lethal launcher. Which use of force caused or contributed to the man’s injuries remains part of the ongoing investigation.

Both the machete and the small folding knife were recovered at the scene.

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ASIRT says police shooting was reasonable action



Alberta Serious Incident Response Team ASIRT

From the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team:

Shooting reasonable during CPS critical incident

On Sept. 29, 2017, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a 22-year-old man by members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) that day. During the arrest, one CPS member fired his service pistol, resulting in the man sustaining an injury.

ASIRT interviewed all relevant police and civilian witnesses, including the 22-year-old man, about the events. Radio communication audio recordings, 911 open call recording, and CCTV video, including video from inside the convenience store where the incident occurred, were secured. The involved officer declined to provide a statement, as is his constitutional right.

Having reviewed the investigation, executive director Susan Hughson, QC, has come to the conclusion that force used during this incident was both reasonable and justified.

At approximately 8:08 p.m. that day, CPS received a 911 call reporting that a man, armed with a knife, was inside the 7-Eleven store located 4604 37 Street SW. The caller reported that the man, who wasn’t wearing a shirt, entered the store holding a can of beer and a knife, and had approached her asking for a lighter. As she spoke with the 911 dispatcher, the man grabbed her cellphone, entered the mailroom storage area and refused to leave.

A CPS officer, who came into the 7-Eleven store to buy something, became aware of the situation and talked to the man through the closed door of the storage room. At the same time, CPS dispatched officers in response to the call and customers were evacuated from the store. The cellphone taken from the 911 caller remained an open line, capturing audio of the incident and the conversation between the man and police. Once additional CPS officers were on-scene, police used the cellphone to continue to speak with the man.

While inside the storage area, the man set fire to the room and refused to come out. The man requested water, and officers persuaded him to exit the room to take a bottle of water. The man left the burning room briefly, still holding a knife. Officers shouted commands to drop the knife and deployed a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW), commonly referred to as a Taser. It had no impact and the man quickly returned to the storage room. As the fire progressed, it disabled the store’s electrical power and the building switched to its emergency lighting system.

The man again left the storage room, still armed with the knife, and officers deployed a CEW two additional times, but the man was able to return to the room. At this point, it is likely that the growing fire made it difficult for the man to stay inside the room, as he emerged again shortly after. This time, he came out holding the knife and ran toward the officers. An officer fired two rounds from his service pistol, striking the man in the shoulder. The man fell to the ground and began stabbing himself in the neck with the knife. When he ignored verbal commands from officers to drop the knife, officers deployed a CEW again to stop the man from harming himself. While it successfully stopped the man from continuing to stab himself in the neck, it did not cause him to drop the knife. A police service dog was deployed to drag the man into an open area, where he was successfully disarmed. At this point, the smoke in the building was described as being almost intolerable.

Officers carried the man out of the burning building to a waiting ambulance, which provided emergency care and transported him to hospital. The man was treated for his injuries, including burns to his back, chest, and hands, and a gunshot wound to the shoulder. He was subsequently booked into custody at the Calgary Remand Centre. On Dec. 23, 2017, shortly after his release, the 22-year-old man died in circumstances unrelated to his contact with police on Sept. 29, 2017 or the physical injuries he sustained.

Initially, police responded to an armed man with a knife who had stolen a phone from an employee and effectively barricaded himself in a storage room at a public convenience store. His behaviour was erratic, unpredictable and concerning. While he appeared intent on self-harm, he still had the ability to hurt someone else. The fact that he was high and in the midst of a mental health crisis did not make him less dangerous and, arguably, would make him more dangerous as he was not making rational decisions or choices. Initially, all the CPS officers tried to do, was to “talk out” the situation to encourage his surrender. Unfortunately, when the man started a fire, it significantly increased the urgency of the situation for all involved, and limited the options available to police. As well, the limited visibility and the increasingly difficult environment inside the store made the situation even more problematic. Officers tried twice to apprehend him using intermediate force options, but both attempts were unsuccessful. This is the reality of some situations. Plans fail and officers regroup and look for alternate opportunities or approaches. Up until the final time the man emerged from the storage room, there was no intention to resort to lethal force and the plan was still to try and extricate him from the situation as safely as possible, with no loss of life.

Under Sec. 25 of the Criminal Code, police officers are entitled to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to carry out their lawful duties. Furthermore, under Sec. 34 of the Criminal Code, any person, including a police officer, is entitled to the use of reasonable force in defence of themselves or another. An assessment of the reasonableness of force used requires consideration of the nature of the threat presented, the urgency of the situation, and the availability of other alternatives. In this case, the action of running directly towards a police officer, in close proximity, while armed with a knife created a serious and immediate threat. In the circumstances, it would be reasonable for the officer to perceive a threat capable of causing death or grievous bodily harm to himself, other officers or any other person. Accordingly, it is reasonable that he resorted to the use of lethal force.

This incident began and escalated due to the effects of drugs and their interaction with pre-existing mental health issues. In light of these factors, it is extremely unfortunate that the man sustained an injury during his arrest, but the escalation of the situation and the interpretation of his actions following his final exit from the room created a reasonable apprehension that he presented a risk of grievous bodily harm or death to an officer. Considering that assessment, the force used to address that danger was reasonable given all of the circumstances.

As such, there are no reasonable grounds, nor even reasonable suspicion, to believe that the officer committed any Criminal Code offence. All officers were lawfully placed and acting in the lawful execution of their duties. They all attempted to exercise restraint until the armed man, desperately suicidal, forced their hand. The force employed was reasonable in the circumstances. As such, no charges are appropriate.

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.

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september, 2019

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