Manitoba’s police watchdog has opted not to charge a police officer after he shot a man who stabbed him multiple times in the head and back.
The investigation stems from a May 29, 2019 incident outside the Waywayseecappo First Nation Gaming Centre.
According to the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba’s final report on the incident, the Manitoba First Nations Police Service officer responded to a report of a disturbance at the location and two men approached him.
The man the police officer shot, dubbed "Affected Person" in the report, stabbed the police officer multiple times in the head and back during the altercation.
The officer pulled out his sidearm and shot him, hitting him in the cheek and shoulder with the same bullet, according to the report. The bullet ended up lodged in the man’s shoulder.
Gaming centre security came to the aid of the police officer and secured both men. The officer was able to get inside the gaming centre and called for help, according to the report.
The RCMP then arrived and secured the scene. They found a knife and spent bullet casings in the parking lot.
The IIU reviewed a variety of evidence in its investigation, including the audio of the 911 call, the RCMP forensic report, scene photos, and they interviewed the police officer and nine witnesses.
The police officer declined an in-person interview with the IIU during the investigation, but did give a written statement and copies of his notebook entries.
In his statement, the officer said he arrived at approximately 11 p.m. and found four people standing outside a black hatchback.
While speaking to someone in the vehicle, the man approached him and got into his personal space. He began swearing and getting angry, according to the report.
A fight started and the police officer thought he was punched in the head. He felt something sharp cut into his head during the struggle with the man and he felt blood rushing down the side of his head.
"I remember pulling the trigger but did not hear my gun fire and thought it had jammed. I racked another round and was able to get free. I was then able to stand up and feared for my life as I believed he was about to get up so fired my gun at him," the officer wrote.
He was later treated for nine stab wounds at the Russell Health Centre.
The "Affected Person" also gave a statement in the report. In it, he says he arrived at the gaming centre between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. after drinking and was intoxicated.
He said he didn’t really remember what else happened, but the officer pulled out his pistol and shot him.
"AP said he did not know why the officer shot him. When asked if he stabbed (the officer), AP replied, ‘I don’t know,’" the report reads.
The officer was justified in shooting the man as he believed he could die from the stab wounds, IIU civilian director Zane Tessler wrote in the report, which was released publicly on Monday.
"I am satisfied that all the evidence gathered supports the singular conclusion that ... (the officer’s) use of potentially lethal force in shooting AP to prevent further harm was both reasonable and justified in these circumstances," Tessler wrote.
While the report is dated Nov. 5, 2019, it was not released at the time as there were still criminal charges pending from the incident.
"In conclusion, there are no grounds to justify any charges against the subject officer."
The IIU’s investigation is complete and the file is closed.
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