City officer cleared in shooting


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A Winnipeg police officer was justified when he shot a man, armed with knives, in the thigh last fall, the police oversight agency has concluded.

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A Winnipeg police officer was justified when he shot a man, armed with knives, in the thigh last fall, the police oversight agency has concluded.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba determined the man posed a lethal threat to the officer, whose use of potentially deadly force was justified by law.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was treated in hospital.

On Sept. 27, five Winnipeg officers went to the man’s home on Barber Street. They had warrants to enter the home and arrest the man.

A girl told the officers the man was inside the home but was trying to escape through a side door, the IIU said.

An officer who witnessed the incident told the IIU she heard someone say “drop the knife” followed by someone else saying “I’m going to kill myself.” Then a Taser electroshock weapon was deployed.

The man was hit by the Taser, but got up and ran from the backyard toward Hallet Street, where he was shot.

He told IIU investigators he took two knives from a hunting bag and ran from police.

Investigators said the man’s claim that he didn’t brandish the knives was in contrast to video evidence and a witness account. Other witnesses said they heard the man threaten to kill himself.

In a prepared statement, the officer who fired his gun said he chased the suspect to a yard on Prince Edward Street, where he saw the man holding two knives.

The officer tried to use his Taser on the man but missed. Then the man put the knives to his throat and said he would kill himself.

The officer wrote that he took out his pistol and told the man to drop the knives, but the man walked toward him erratically. The officer again fired his Taser but missed, and told the man to drop his weapons.

He wrote in his statement that he made a “split-second” decision to aim and fire two rounds at the man’s legs, as he was alone and feared for his life.

“I am satisfied that from the evidence gathered from the variety of sources, in particular the video footage, there is substantial support for the conclusion that the use of potential lethal force by the subject officer was authorized and justified by law,” wrote IIU director Zane Tessler.

The man was handcuffed and taken to hospital. The bullet shattered his femur and required surgery to insert a supporting rod.

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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