The organization charged with investigating police use of force in the Yukon has released its findings about a 2020 shooting involving the Whitehorse RCMP. The officer whose conduct was being investigated fired one shot, missing a man who was promptly arrested and striking a vehicle. No one was injured.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) released its report on the March 2, 2020 shooting earlier this month. The report notes that the shooting was captured on a camera mounted to an RCMP vehicle.
ASIRT concluded that on the day in question the RCMP responded to a call about a man who had gone to the home of his ex-wife’s father armed with a rifle. According to the report on the shooting, the man banged on the door and then returned to his truck after receiving no answer. Police were dispatched at 11:54 a.m. following a 9-1-1 call from the father. They were aware the man had a rifle.
One officer arrived at the scene about six minutes before the call came in with another in an unmarked vehicle arriving seconds later. The man who the police were called about was seated in the driver’s seat of his truck when they arrived.
According to the ASIRT report, the two RCMP officers on scene repeatedly yelled at the man in the truck to show them his hands. The report states that the man dropped his hands more than once in the seconds after the officers arrived. Within 30 seconds of the officers arriving, one of them fired a shot, missing the man in the driver’s seat and striking near the top of the truck’s cab.
The officer who fired, and so was the subject of ASIRT’s investigation, told investigators that he believed that the man in the truck still had the rifle and planned to use it against the officers.
“His assessment was that the risk was extremely high,” the report reads.
The man then exited the police vehicle at police’s direction and began walking towards officers. The report notes that he continued lowering his hands and police warned him to keep them up. The man laid on the ground and was arrested for careless use of a firearm.
The ASIRT report contains a photo of a lever-action rifle propped up against the front passenger seat of the man who was arrested’s truck. The report states it was loaded and had a round in the chamber.
The report states that the man initially made a claim that he was outside of his truck trying to get it unstuck from snow. The ASIRT report states that based on video of the incident this was found not to be correct. He would admit to a different version of events, in which he was sitting in the driver’s seat, during criminal proceedings related to the incident.
The man confirmed to investigators that he had the rifle with the intention of using it to scare his ex-wife’s father.
After applying the section of the Criminal Code of Canada that governs the use of force by police, ASIRT found the officer’s use of force was required, reasonable and authorized by law. No grounds to believe the officer committed an offence were found.
The report acknowledged that greater care taken in the initiation of contact with the man in the truck might have led to a lower-risk situation and removed the need for the officer to fire. However it found that the officer could not be faulted for this.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com