Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Emotional price for shooting someone, says veteran cop

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WINNIPEG police officers know from experience that there is an emotional cost to drawing their gun and shooting at someone.

Winnipeg police Sgt. Ross Read, who is a day short of his 25th anniversary as an officer, said he knows what it is like because during his career he not only has seen fellow officers go through it, but went through it himself.

"Having been through a similar outcome before, they are traumatic," Read told a six-woman, six-man Court of Queen’s Bench jury on Wednesday during a trial for two police officers accused of shooting a fleeing suspect.

"Everybody deals with stress in different ways. Anyone who says they are not stressed would be fooling themselves."

Under questioning by defence counsel Richard Wolson, Read also agreed that when an officer pursues a suspect, the pursuit itself is a stressful situation.

Read did not tell the court what incident he went through himself.

Const. Darrel Keith Selley is charged with attempted murder using a firearm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm in the shooting of Kristofer Shaun Fournier on July 16, 2007.

Selley and Const. Kristopher John Overwater have pleaded not guilty to intending to wound Fournier by firing a Glock .40-calibre handgun, aggravated assault and obstruction of justice.

A bullet hit Fournier, 23, in his buttocks after three other shots missed him. Court has been told he was shot after leading police on a high-speed chase because he was high on meth and had cocaine on him.

He said the bullet struck him as he ran down a back alley near Grant Avenue and Lindsey Street after hearing somebody yell, "Shoot him, (expletive) shoot him."

During questioning, Read also agreed that during his career he has seen increasing disrespect from criminals toward all officers.

"Respect for police officers is a lost art form in this city," he said.

And when Wolson asked if the city was getting more violent, Read responded: "We are the violent crime capital of Canada for several years now."

Earlier, Const. Dwayne Dennis testified how he pulled the computer data stored in the SUV Fournier was driving before one of its wheels came off, as well as from the two police cruisers which collided with it. Court has been told the foot chase occurred after this collision.

Dennis said the records show that neither seatbelt was being used in the cruiser being driven by Selley.

The trial continues.

 kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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