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Alberta

RCMP officer acted reasonably in shooting incident: ASIRT

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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.

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Board Member Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) Musician, Photographer, Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

Alberta politicians swap charges of bullying, misogyny after member ejected

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s Opposition NDP tried and failed Thursday to censure the deputy speaker for evicting one of their members from the house in a day that saw both sides accuse each other of belittling and marginalizing women in politics.

The governing United Conservatives voted down an NDP motion to discuss whether deputy Speaker Nicholas Milliken should still have his job after he ordered NDP member Marie Renaud out of the chamber during debate the evening prior.

Milliken ejected Renaud after she accused UCP members of trying to intimidate her through gestures while she was standing to speak to a bill.

Milliken said Renaud’s comments imputed unfair motives and were disrupting the house, and ordered her to withdraw the comments and apologize.

Renaud withdrew the remarks but would not apologize and was evicted for the balance of the night.

On Thursday, Renaud told reporters she faced mocking gestures, stares and facial expressions to try to throw her off balance during her speech.

“It happens frequently to a lot of women in our caucus. And last night was just bad and I called it out,” said Renaud.

Milliken is a United Conservative backbencher but is expected to be impartial when directing debate from the Speaker’s chair.

NDP house leader Heather Sweet said the NDP made the motion because Milliken failed to not only address Renaud’s concerns but focused the blame on her, calling into question his impartiality.

“It affects every single member from having the ability to stand in this house and to be able to feel freely without harassment to debate with the intent of having the Speaker be a neutral, non-partisan body,” Sweet told Speaker Nathan Cooper in making the motion.

UCP backbencher Laila Goodridge challenged Renaud, telling the house that bullying and intimidation can’t be countenanced but heckling is a part of politics, and having someone focus their attention on you in the house is respectful and appropriate.

“We need to be careful not to label everything and everyone we don’t like as bullying. Not liking something does not make it bullying,” said Goodridge. 

“I would suggest that if someone doesn’t want people looking at them when they speak, perhaps they’re not in the right field.”

The debate was the capstone to a Wednesday that saw typical attacks, insults and angry hyperbole between the NDP and UCP boil over. It even dragged in the memory of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

During debate of a bill that would allow non-constitutional referendums, NDP member Marlin Schmidt pointed out that even conservative icon Thatcher had concerns that referendums can be twisted to curtail minority rights.

“Just let me say that I am no fan of Margaret Thatcher,” Schmidt added.

“If nothing else goes right for me in a day, I can at least count on enjoying the fact that Margaret Thatcher is still dead. And the only thing I regret about Margaret Thatcher’s death is that it happened probably 30 years too late.”

At the direction of the Speaker, Schmidt apologized and withdrew the remarks.

On Thursday, UCP backbencher Miranda Rosin told the house that Schmidt’s remarks make it difficult for women to enter politics.

“The disgusting comments we heard, which celebrated the death of the greatest female leader in the 20th century … will not be encouraging to any woman who wishes to seek elected office,” said Rosin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Three more patients die from COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton hospital

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EDMONTON — Three more patients linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at an Edmonton hospital have died.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro reported the deaths at the Misericordia Community Hospital in a statement on Twitter.

The announcement comes one day after health officials said three patients had died from the illness, and 20 other patients and 15 staff had tested positive.

Alberta Health declared a full outbreak at the facility and said it would not be admitting new patients.

Shandro says his thoughts are with the families of the six patients who have died.

He says his department is monitoring the situation at the hospital and he has full confidence that measures are in place to prevent further spread of infections.

“Our hospitals remain safe, and this outbreak is being managed as safely and effectively as possible,” he said in the statement Thursday.

“I know the physicians, staff and volunteers at the Misericordia are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances, and I thank them for the care they’re providing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020

The Canadian Press

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