RCMP officer acted reasonably in shooting incident: ASIRT
officer acted reasonably in shooting incident
January 17, 2019 Media inquiries
On Sept. 22, 2017, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the discharge of firearm by a member of the RCMP, with no injuries to anyone.
In the early hours that day, Redwater RCMP notified surrounding areas to be on the lookout for a vehicle involved in two armed robberies and a vehicle pursuit, which had just occurred in their area. One of these robberies resulted in a gunshot injury to the victim. An RCMP officer was driving home after his shift at the Fort Saskatchewan detachment when he spotted a vehicle that matched the suspect vehicle, travelling in the ditch with no headlights or taillights on, just outside of Fort Saskatchewan. The officer reported the information to RCMP and EPS dispatch, and followed the suspect vehicle at a distance while providing updates. The suspect vehicle was intercepted by EPS patrol units, but failed to stop. Following a lengthy pursuit, the suspect vehicle was abandoned in a rural area and the occupants fled on foot.
The RCMP and EPS units established a perimeter to contain the area, as it was believed that the suspects might attempt to steal another vehicle to leave the area. The RCMP officer who had reported the suspect vehicle, still in full uniform, offered to assist and joined another RCMP officer in a fully marked police vehicle. An unidentified truck was observed driving in the area where the suspect vehicle had been abandoned, and a decision was made to stop the truck and identify the driver.
Two marked RCMP vehicles were positioned to stop the unidentified truck at the intersection of Township Road 472 and Range Road 242. As two officers approached the cab of the truck to speak with the driver and lone occupant, the reporting officer held his position behind the deployed spike belt with his firearm drawn at low-ready. The driver of the truck appeared nervous to the officers, was unable to produce identification, and provided an explanation for his presence that was suspicious. The two officers directed the driver to exit the vehicle. As one of the officers reached for the truck driver’s door handle to pull it open, the driver put the truck in motion and accelerated forward quickly, directly towards the officer positioned behind the spike belt. The officer fired his service pistol at the vehicle, and simultaneously jumped to the side, out of the vehicle’s path. Several rounds struck the vehicle but did not enter into the passenger cab of the vehicle, and no one was injured. Having passed over the spike belt, the tires of the truck rapidly deflated and the vehicle was stopped a short distance away. Ultimately, the driver exited the vehicle and was arrested without further incident. Further investigation determined that the truck was, in fact, stolen.
Under S. 25 of the Criminal Code, police officers are entitled to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to carry out their lawful duties. With potentially armed and dangerous individuals at large, the situation was already high-risk. The driver of the motor vehicle was stopped in circumstances where it was not possible for the involved officers to know whether he might have potential association or possible involvement in the earlier events that had resulted in an individual having been shot or the suspects at large. In this situation, the driver’s attempt to escape, the manner of his operation of the (stolen) motor vehicle, including the speed and the decision to drive directly at the officer, created a risk of imminent death or grievous bodily harm to the police officer. The risk was objectively serious and immediate. Furthermore, under S. 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. At the point where the driver put the truck in motion in the direction of the officer, the officer was lawfully entitled to act in self-defence. The use of force ceased within a reasonable time frame, and the driver was arrested without further incident. While the officer’s shift had technically ended, he maintained his authorities as a police officer in the province of Alberta and at the time that the driver drove at him, he was entitled to act in the lawful execution of his duties in the face of an individual who was committing criminal offences in that moment, as a police officer, and as a person entitled to defend himself from grievous bodily harm or death.
Having reviewed the investigation, there are no reasonable grounds, nor even reasonable suspicion, to believe that the officer committed any Criminal Code offence. While it is unfortunate that the lives of both the officer and the driver were placed at risk during this encounter, that risk resulted from the driver’s attempt to escape what was a lawful detention by members of the RCMP. The force used in response to that escape attempt was reasonable given all of the circumstances.
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.
Drying conditions return in Alberta, crews see more intense fire activity
A burnt metal sign hangs from a tree, damaged by recent wildfires, in Drayton Valley Alta., on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. As more wildfire evacuees are being allowed to return home in Alberta, provincial officials warn that warm, dry conditions are returning this weekend in some areas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
As more wildfire evacuees are being allowed to return home in Alberta, provincial officials warn that warm, dry conditions are returning this weekend in some areas.
Melissa Story with Alberta Wildfire says the elevated fire conditions were anticipated and that crews on the ground are seeing more intense fire activity on the perimeters of wildfires.
But she says most fires haven’t grown substantially and she doesn’t believe any have jumped their containment lines.
The number of evacuees as of Saturday afternoon stood at 5,257, down from over 7,200 on Wednesday, following cooler and wetter conditions in the last week.
Nearly 50 wildfires in Alberta’s forest protection area are burning, with 14 of those listed as out-of-control.
Cyndee Evans, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, says the situation remains serious despite recent positive news.
“While we can take heart that more Albertans are starting to return home, we cannot afford to drop our guard. Now is not the time for complacency. Please continue to do your part and help prevent the spread of wildfires and further damage from occurring,” Evans told a news conference Saturday.
Story noted that showers were forecast for some parts of Alberta later Saturday, reducing fire danger, but also cautioned they bring the risk of lightning.
Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet Saturday that an extension for the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to assist in firefighting efforts has been approved.
Story said firefighters from New Zealand were welcomed to the province Friday and that nearly 200 firefighters and support staff from Australia would be arriving this weekend.
Alberta remains under a provincewide state of emergency, although some bans on fires, ATVs and off-highway vehicles have been relaxed in recent days.
Parkland County west of Edmonton lifted a state of local emergency on Friday that had been in place since April 29, and downgraded a fire ban to a fire restriction. It said that meant “safe fires in approved fire pits with a screen are allowed and do not require a permit.”
Fires without screens still required permits, however, and open fires in the county are still banned.
The High Level Forest Area wildfire update noted the Pasqua fire located in the community of Fox Lake saw an increase in fire activity after warm and dry weather on Friday, and that temperatures and fire behaviour was expected to pick up on Saturday.
Fox Lake remains evacuated, but residents are being permitted to sign up for tours of the community on Monday to view damage. A statement from the Little Red River Cree Nation said priority will be given to people who have lost their homes.
“Tours will be visual only, as it is still not safe for members to walk around the community or house sites due to hot spots as well as possible toxins and hazards in the areas that have been burned,” said a statement posted online by the First Nation on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2023.
UCP leader Smith says she is ‘delighted’ by endorsements from Harper, Poilievre
United Conservative Party leader Danielle Smith, centre, makes an election campaign announcement in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 26, 2023. Albertans go to the polls on May 29. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
United Conservative leader Danielle Smith says she would aim to lower the level of political polarization in Alberta if her party wins what has been a tight and often bitter election race.
She made her remarks during her last news conference before Albertans go to the polls on Monday.
Smith says she would consult broadly and make decisions based on what she’s heard.
She adds her door is always open to people from all backgrounds and all political persuasions, and she would learn by exchanging ideas.
The UCP leader also says she was delighted to garner endorsements from former prime minister Stephen Harper and federal Conservative Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre.
The rival New Democrats have been endorsed by high-profile former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2023.
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