Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Officers disobeyed orders to abort pursuit, trial told
A controversial shooting that has put two police officers on trial and their careers and freedom on the line could have been avoided had they listened to orders from a fellow cop.
Const. Darrell Selley and Const. Kristopher Overwater were told to stand down and let a member of the police K-9 unit and his four-legged partner pursue a suspect.
But a Winnipeg jury heard Thursday the officers ignored Const. John Taylor and continued to give chase, ultimately ending with the suspect shot in the back.
"Guys, I'm on scene; don't chase him, don't chase him," Taylor instructed Selley and Overwater over the police radio.
He told jurors he was worried they might throw off the suspect's scent and make it hard for his dog, Judge, to follow the trail.
The bullets began flying seconds later, with the first three shots missing before the fourth lodged in the left buttock of Kristofer Fournier.
Selley, 37, is now facing several charges, including attempted murder, fabricating evidence, careless use of a firearm and criminal negligence. Overwater, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges including fabricating evidence and "aiding and abetting."
Fournier testified earlier this week and admits he was behind the wheel of a stolen Yukon SUV in 2007 when Selley and Overwater began chasing him, believing he may have been involved in a nearby armed robbery of a 7-Eleven store. He doesn't dispute driving at excessive speeds through residential neighbourhoods while high on meth and carrying cocaine in his pocket.
But Fournier insists he did nothing more than run away after his vehicle spun out at an intersection. Moments later, he was ducking bullets as somebody allegedly yelled, "Shoot him, (expletive) shoot him."
Crown prosecutor Robert Tapper alleges Overwater was driving the police vehicle and ignored orders from his commanding officers to abort the chase. He alleges Overwater lied about his speed and road conditions during the pursuit, to be proven by GPS readings obtained from the cruiser. 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, the Crown says.
Tapper claims Selley recklessly fired his weapon while running after Fournier, and Overwater then allegedly placed his own gun next to the wounded, handcuffed Fournier, telling other officers the suspect had made a grab for it. This was an attempt to create a bogus explanation for why Selley opened fire, Tapper alleges.
Const. Don Leveille was one of the officers who arrived on scene. He told jurors Thursday he was surprised by what he saw.
"I could see (Fournier) had a bullet hole in his butt cheek, and I noticed underneath his hands was a service-issue Glock pistol." Leveille knew scene preservation was important, but decided officer safety trumped that and quickly grabbed the gun to get it out of the way. He returned it to Overwater's holster and told a commanding officer what he'd done.
Fournier's credibility and version of events came under attack from defence lawyers due to his lengthy criminal record. But Tapper urged jurors in his opening statement this week to "follow the evidence" and not be tricked by the very different backgrounds of the accused officers and the career-criminal victim.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2013 A6
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 16 articles for today)10:02 AM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- 'Forever family'
- New survey shows NDP 'floor'
- Early birds hit the Boxing Day sales
- Synagogue serves up some Christmas meals and cheer
- Troubling stories about kids in hotels
- Man, 45, missing since Monday
- Blood runs deep for Winnipeg family
- Holidays push back garbage, recycling collections
- New design uplifts personal care homes
- Families unite at annual feast
- MTS says services have been restored
- Winnipeg trucker dies in semi-truck collision
- New Transcona Boulevard offically opens today
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- Remains may be decade old
- Police seek driver after pickup truck hits pedestrian
- Man, 45, missing since Monday
- Police continue to seek info on driver; hit-and-run proves fatal
- RCMP officer faces drug and weapons charges
- RCMP charge more than dozen impaired drivers
- Slain man leaves behind nine children
- Trucking firm in mourning after driver killed in crash
- Teacher pulled from classroom
- 'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
- Photos released of suspects in coat heist
- RCMP investigate allegations of doctored invoices, improper payment
- Semi driver dies in collision at Lagimodiere, Dugald
- Twelve arrested, including former city council candidate; weapons and drugs
- Keep car windows clear or face fine: police
- Selby among victims of debit card-skimming scam
Ads by Google