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Alberta

Investigation reveals terrifying life and death situation faced by police officer forced to shoot attacking suspect

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18 minute read

Figure 1 – HAWCS video showing the AP (circled in white) driving on the wrong side of the highway and forcing a vehicle off the road.

News release from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT)

ASIRT’s Investigation

ASIRT’s investigation was comprehensive and thorough, conducted using current investigative protocols, and in accordance with the principles of major case management. Investigators interviewed all relevant police and civilian witnesses, and secured and analyzed all relevant radio communications.

This incident was captured on video by a Calgary Police Service (CPS) helicopter air watch community safety (HAWCS) helicopter. Some of the incident was also captured on cameras in the RCMP vehicles. These videos provide objective evidence and are therefore extremely valuable to ASIRT investigations.

Circumstances Surrounding the Incident

At approximately 1:50 p.m. on February 12, 2023, CPS received a 9-1-1 call about the affected person (AP). The caller was concerned that she was suicidal. RCMP officers responded to an area east of Calgary, and a CPS helicopter went to assist.

At 3:35 p.m., the witness officer (WO) located the AP in her vehicle on the side of Highway 564. The AP sped off and the WO followed. The CPS helicopter located the AP and the WO shortly after and began to record the incident.

The AP was driving extremely fast, including at speeds of over 175 km/h, and often on the wrong side of the highway. There were other vehicles on the road at that time. The AP drove through a stop sign at the intersection of Highways 564 and 9 and was briefly launched into the air due to her speed and the elevated intersection. The AP continued to drive on the wrong side of the highway (Figure 1).

At Highway 21, the AP turned around and travelled back west. She then briefly went off the road and into the ditch. At 3:51 p.m., the SO used a tire deflation device that punctured some of the AP’s tires. The AP then came to a stop and, at 3:52 p.m., the SO stopped his marked police vehicle behind the AP.

As the SO stopped, the AP exited her vehicle. She had a knife in her left hand and a beer in her right (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – The SO’s vehicle video showing the AP with a knife in her left hand.

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The SO can be heard to yell, “drop the knife!” on the police vehicle video. The AP took a few steps toward the SO and then began to run toward him (Figure 3).

As she was running, the AP said, “I’m going to fucking kill you!” The SO said “drop the knife” repeatedly. The SO moved backwards and drew a handgun and then a conductive energy weapon (CEW).

Figure 3 – HAWCS video showing the AP running at the SO.

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The AP continued to run at the SO until she reached the rear of his police vehicle, when she turned and attempted to go into the police vehicle (Figure 4).

Figure 4 – HAWCS video showing the AP entering the SO’s police vehicle.

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The SO ran back to his vehicle and used his CEW on the AP. The AP then turned and ran at the SO again (Figure 5).

Figure 5 – HAWCS video showing the AP running at the SO again.

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The AP again said, “I’m going to fucking kill you!” The SO then fired seven shots at 3:53 p.m., hitting the AP and causing her to fall to the road and drop her knife (Figure 6).

The SO approached the AP and kicked away the knife. The SO began to assess the AP, and other officers arrived within one minute to provide first aid to the AP. At 4:06 p.m., emergency medical services arrived and assumed care of the AP. An air ambulance was then used to transport the AP to hospital.

The AP had seven gunshot wounds to her chest, midsection, arms, and legs. She required surgeries and stayed in the hospital for some time.

Figure 6 – HAWCS video showing the AP falling to the road after being shot by the SO.
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A knife was found in the ditch near the AP (Figure 7).

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Figure 7 – Knife found in ditch near the AP.

Civilian Witnesses

ASIRT investigators interviewed or reviewed interviews with eight individuals who saw the incident or the AP driving that day. Their evidence was generally consistent with the above.

Affected Person’s (AP) Statement

ASIRT investigators interviewed the AP on February 28, 2023. She told them that she was suicidal on February 12. Initially she planned to find a semi-truck to run her over.

After the WO had stopped chasing her, she turned around to reengage with the police. She drove over the tire deflation device and then pulled over. Before she left her vehicle, she grabbed a knife because she thought that the police would not shoot her unless she had something. She left her vehicle and walked fast toward the SO, saying something like “just hit me” or “shoot me.”

The SO used his CEW on her but she pushed through the pain and continued to move toward the SO. She said something like “fucking hit me you little bitch” and the SO shot her. She continued to approach the SO and he then jumped on her, taking her to the ground and injuring her leg.

The police officers provided her with medical attention immediately. She asked them to let her die.

The AP said it was her goal to die and she did not want to hurt any police officers.

Subject Officer’s (SO) Statement

On May 1, 2023, ASIRT investigators interviewed the SO. He provided a written statement and then answered questions after reading it. Subject officers, like anyone being investigated for a criminal offence, can rely on their right to silence, and do not have to speak to ASIRT.

The SO’s evidence was consistent with the video evidence and provided some insight into his view of the incident. The SO did not hear what the AP said when she was running at him. After he shot her, he heard her say things like “let me die” and “you never help me.”

When the AP was running at the SO for the second time, he recognized that he could only run backwards for so long before tripping or falling and being at risk. He feared that the AP would cause him grievous bodily harm or death and fired at the AP until she stopped advancing.

Analysis

Section 25 Generally

Under s. 25 of the Criminal Code, police officers are permitted to use as much force as is necessary for execution of their duties. Where this force is intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm, the officer must believe on reasonable grounds that the force is necessary for the self-preservation of the officer or preservation of anyone under that officer’s protection. The force used here, discharging a firearm repeatedly at a person, was clearly intended or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm. The subject officer therefore must have believed on reasonable grounds that the force he used was necessary for his self-preservation or the preservation of another person under his protection. Another person can include other police officers. For the defence provided by s. 25 to apply to the actions of an officer, the officer must be required or authorized by law to perform the action in the administration or enforcement of the law, must have acted on reasonable grounds in performing the action, and must not have used unnecessary force.

All uses of force by police must also be proportionate, necessary, and reasonable.

Proportionality requires balancing a use of force with the action or threat to which it responds. This is codified in the requirement under s. 25(3), which states that where a force is intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm, the officer must believe on reasonable grounds that the force is necessary for the self-preservation of the officer or preservation of anyone under that officer’s protection. An action that represents a risk to preservation of life is a serious one, and only in such circumstances can uses of force that are likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm be employed.

Necessity requires that there are not reasonable alternatives to the use of force that also accomplish the same goal, which in this situation is the preservation of the life of the officer or of another person under his protection. These alternatives can include no action at all. An analysis of police actions must recognize the dynamic situations in which officers often find themselves, and such analysis should not expect police officers to weigh alternatives in real time in the same way they can later be scrutinized in a stress- free environment.

Reasonableness looks at the use of force and the situation as a whole from an objective viewpoint. Police actions are not to be judged on a standard of perfection, but on a standard of reasonableness.

Section 25 Applied

The SO was assisting on a call that evolved as time went on. It started as a welfare check, became a serious dangerous driving investigation, and ended with dealing with an assaultive person. The SO’s actions throughout were required or authorized by law and he acted on reasonable grounds.

The first stage in assessing whether the force he used was excessive is proportionality. The AP was running at the SO with a knife, which could affect the SO’s self-preservation. He responded with his firearm, which was intended or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm. These two forces are proportionate.

The necessity element of the assessment recognizes the dynamic nature of incidents such as this. Here, the AP ran at the SO suddenly, which created a serious situation. The SO recognized at this point that he could attempt to deescalate the situation by moving away from the AP. However, the AP then attempted to get into his police vehicle, which would have created a profoundly serious danger to him and other users of the highway. He then used his CEW, which was not effective. The AP began running at him again. With the threat still present and having exhausted reasonable alternatives, it was necessary for the SO to fire at the AP at that time.

The final element, reasonableness, looks at the incident overall. The SO conducted himself carefully and showed restraint at the beginning of the incident. His actions were reasonable.

As a result, the defence under s. 25 is likely to apply to the SO.

Section 34 Generally

A police officer also has the same protections for the defence of person under s. 34 of the Criminal Code as any other person. This section provides that a person does not commit an offence if they believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used or threatened against them or another person, if they act to defend themselves or another person from this force or threat, and if the act is reasonable in the circumstances. In order for the act to be reasonable in the circumstances, the relevant circumstances of the individuals involved and the act must be considered. Section 34(2) provides a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered to determine if the act was reasonable in the circumstances:

(a) the nature of the force or threat;

(b) the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force;

(c) the person’s role in the incident;
(d) whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon;
(e) the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the parties to the incident;

(f) the nature, duration and history of any relationship between the parties to the incident, including any prior use or threat of force and the nature of that force or threat;

(f.1) any history of interaction or communication between the parties to the incident;

(g) the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force; and

(h) whether the act committed was in response to a use or threat of force that the person knew was lawful.

The analysis under s. 34 for the actions of a police officer often overlaps considerably with the analysis of the same actions under s. 25.

Section 34 Applied

For the same reasons as under s. 25, this defence is likely to apply to the SO. The AP was running at him with a knife and, like anyone would be, he was entitled to use force to repel her.

Conclusion

The AP was suicidal on February 12, 2023. She initially intended to drive into a semi- truck, but then decided to force police to shoot her. She did this by running at the SO with a knife in her hand. The SO was justified in responding with his firearm.

The defences available to the SO under s. 25 and s. 34 are likely to apply. As a result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed.

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Alberta

Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Alberta

Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Albertans need income tax relief now

Author: Kris Sims 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.

“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”

The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.

During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.

The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.

The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.

By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.

In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.

In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.

“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.

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