Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Defence lawyers grill man shot by officer

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He admits he is no saint. But a career criminal swears he was the innocent victim of two rogue Winnipeg police officers looking to dish out some street justice.

Kristofer Shawn Fournier, 23, took the witness stand today to detail a disturbing 2007 incident which has put the cops on trial.

Const. Darrel Keith Selley, 37, is facing several charges, including attempted murder, fabricating evidence, careless use of a firearm and criminal negligence. Const. Kristopher John Overwater, 31, is charged with dangerous driving, fabricating evidence and "aiding and abetting."

Fournier admitted he was behind the wheel of a stolen Yukon SUV when police began chasing him, believing he may have been involved in a nearby armed robbery of a 7-Eleven store. And Fournier doesn’t dispute driving at excessive speeds through residential neighbourhoods while high on meth while carrying cocaine in his pocket.

But Fournier insists he did nothing more than run away on foot after his vehicle spun out at an intersection. Moments later, he was ducking bullets as somebody yelled "shoot him."

The fourth shot fired in his direction struck him in the buttocks. He escaped without serious injury.

Fournier’s credibility will be a major issue for jurors. Defence lawyers began grilling him in cross-examination late this morning, bringing up his extensive criminal record which includes convictions for auto theft and drug dealing.

Fournier told jurors he’s a changed man today, having obtained a full-time job, moved out of the city and found a steady relationship.

In his opening statement on Monday, prosecutor Robert Tapper warned jurors not to get caught up in the different backgrounds of those involved, saying the evidence is clear some major misconduct took place.

"Law and order and justice is to be dispensed in courtrooms like this. Not the back lanes of residential Winnipeg," said Tapper. He told jurors there is no question the accused tried to kill an unarmed criminal by shooting him in the buttocks, then attempted to cover up their wrongdoing by inventing a bogus story.

Tapper urged jurors not to be swayed by the fact the two accused are police officers, while their victim is someone they might typically look down upon.

"Go where the evidence takes you," said Tapper. He claims the facts will become clear that Selley and Overwater acted "far outside their duties."

Tapper told jurors Monday Overwater was driving and ignored orders from his commanding officers to abort the chase. He alleges Overwater also lied about his speed and road conditions during the pursuit, which will be proven by GPS readings obtained from the cruiser car.

"He did not want to give up the chase," said Tapper.

Fournier ran away -- not wanting to be caught with a stash of drugs -- and was shot despite posing no apparent threat to the officers and having no weapon. Tapper said Selley fired his weapon while running after Fournier. Overwater then allegedly placed his own gun next to the wounded, handcuffed Fournier, telling other officers the suspect had made a grab for it, Tapper said.

"These two gentlemen were acting outside their duties as police officers," said Tapper.

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