July 17th, 2024

Officers’ actions necessary during deadly shooting, Alberta’s police watchdog says

By The Canadian Press on October 20, 2023.

Alberta's police watchdog has cleared four Edmonton police officers involved in a deadly shooting, saying an investigation determined the their actions were necessary and reasonable. An Edmonton Police Services logo is shown at a press conference in Edmonton on Oct. 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Alberta’s police watchdog has cleared four Edmonton police officers involved in a deadly shooting, saying an investigation determined the their actions were necessary and reasonable.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says its investigation into the March 2022 death of an Edmonton man found the officers’ response was justified based off the threat the man posed to those around him.

The report says two off-duty officers arrived to work in the city’s downtown when they heard a loud bang and saw a man near a picnic table holding what appeared to be a black pistol.

The report says the man was holding a 12-gauge shotgun and refused to listen to police when they told him to drop the weapon.

Police tried to use a stun gun on the man twice, but due to the man wearing baggy winter clothing, it didn’t work.

Four officers shot the man after he raised the barrel of his weapon toward some of the officers present.

“With the benefit of hindsight, time for detached reflection and knowledge of the ultimate outcome, it is easy to speculate about how things could have been done differently,” states the report released Friday. “That is not the standard, however, against which an officer’s conduct is measured.”

ASIRT relied on evidence from witnesses, other officers present and video recordings.

One witness reported she had heard the man shouting things that didn’t make sense. An autopsy concluded the man died from gunshot wounds and he had methamphetamine in his system at the time.

The four officers who shot the man declined to participate in an interview, which is allowed, but provided reports and notes.

The man was found to have two single-shot pipe shotguns and two single-shot pistols, the report said.

He also had a notebook with an excerpt that read, “I was tormeting (sic) the cops to come after me to take me out because I won’t stop for them,” the report said.

ASIRT said the use of force was necessary and reasonable given the circumstances.

“(The male’s) subsequent death, while tragic, does not change the analysis.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

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