The family of a man shot and killed by police is suing Calgary Police
The family of a man shot and killed by a police officer two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the Calgary Police Service.
Anthony Heffernan’s loved ones hope the move will lead to changes in the department which will help prevent similar deaths.
Grant Heffernan’s family hopes a lawsuit against the Calgary Police Service will bring answers and change to the way police conduct business.
Grant’s brother, Anthony Heffernan, was shot by an officer in a northeast hotel room following a drug relapse two years ago.
In August, the family found out the officer would not face charges and now they are suing.
“The point is we want is police accountability for their actions,” says Grant Heffernan.
The lawsuit seeks $225,000.00 to cover the cost of the funeral, lost wages and the family’s grief counselling.
A statement of claim says there “was an excessive and unlawful use of force.”
None of the allegations has been proven in court and police won’t comment on the case.
“It's not about the money. It's about hopefully going to trial and getting unanswered questions that we've had from the beginning,” says Grant Heffernan.
In March 2015, police broke into Heffernan’s hotel room after he missed checkout.
He had a lighter and syringe in his hands and some of the officers say he lunged.
Heffernan was tasered then shot four times.
The officer who killed him shot and killed another man while on duty months later.
Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) ruled there was potential for charges in Anthony’s case but prosecutors didn’t feel there was a good chance of conviction.
Heffernan’s family hopes the lawsuit prompts changes to protect others.
“We can never bring Anthony back ever, but our goal from the beginning, two years ago now, was that something like this can never happen again,” says Doug Heffernan.
The family says they’re also planning to appeal the decision not to charge the officer.
The Heffernan’s say the ASIRT investigation included statements from four of the officers in the room when Anthony died but not the officer who killed him.
They can’t believe this wasn’t part of the investigation.
They say if this civil lawsuit goes to trial they may finally get to hear that officer’s first-hand account of why he shot Anthony.
The Heffernan’s legal team says CPS has not yet filed a statement of defence.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)