No reasonable likelihood of conviction in 2016 police shooting, ASIRT says
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 12:14PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 4:07PM MDT
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction in a 2016 incident where a police officer who shot and killed a man during an alleged prowling incident in Inglewood.
Police were called to the SoBow Building, near the intersection of Blackfoot Trail and 19 Street S.E., on July 15, 2016 after a citizen reported seeing four suspicious people inside the parkade of the building prowling around a number of vehicles.
Residents of the building were on alert after a similar incident a day earlier led to police attending and arresting a number of the suspects.
In the second incident, officers surrounded the building, blocked off the exits and initiated a search of the underground structure on foot.
Three officers soon located the suspects and challenged them. At that point, the group got into a vehicle and attempted to flee. ramming a number of vehicles on the way.
While the officers continued to order the driver to stop his vehicle, the fleeing driver continued to drive recklessly, nearly hitting the officers several times.
During the course of the incident, the driver of the SUV ended up racing towards two of the officers who were pointing service weapons at him while continuing to order him to stop.
At that point, the third officer, armed with a C8 patrol rifle, opened fire, firing five shots at the vehicle.
The SUV continued on its path towards the south wall, where it crashed into a locker and stopped.
Three people were found inside the vehicle and the driver, identified as 41-year-old Sanjai Prasad, was confirmed dead at the scene.
The fourth suspect fled the vehicle shortly after it crashed but was arrested in a stairwell trying to escape.
Sue Hughson, executive director of ASIRT, says given the evidence from the scene, there is no reasonable likelihood a conviction would have resulted from any criminal proceedings against the involved officer.
"Even though there may have been an issue with choosing such a powerful firearm in the circumstances the officers were responding to, there can be little argument that a pedestrian struck by a speeding motor vehicle would likely sustain grievous bodily harm or life-threatening injuries."
She added that the driver's toxicology report also indicated the presence of methamphetamines, which has links to other escalating situations with police.
"As we know, one of the first things to go is judgment. So does that provide an explanation for the behaviour? I suspect it might have influenced it."
ASIRT also extended condolences to the family of the victim.