On Sept. 17, 2016, the Director of Law Enforcement assigned the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to investigate circumstances surrounding an incident that left both a 24-year-old man and a Calgary Police Service member seriously injured.
On that date, at approximately 2:10 p.m., the Calgary Police Service (CPS) received a call about a disturbance in the parking lot of the Marlborough LRT station. Police were told a man had been involved in a physical altercation and was seen running away carrying an object that looked like a stick. The first officer who arrived on scene saw a man matching the physical description running towards an entrance to the Marlborough Mall Sears store. He got out of his police vehicle and ran after the man. The officer was in uniform and continuously identified himself as police and directed the man to stop.
Inside the store, the man suddenly stopped running, turned on the officer and was seen putting his hand into his clothes. The officer deployed a conducted energy weapon (commonly known as a Taser) but it had no observable effect on the man. The man then drew a large machete-type knife from his clothes, raised it and ran at the officer, who was only a few feet away, and repeatedly struck him. Although the officer was seriously wounded, he was able to draw his service weapon and fire three times, striking the man with all three shots. CPS officers who had arrived on scene provided immediate medical attention to the man and the officer until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived. Paramedics treated both patients at the scene before transporting them to hospital.
ASIRT executive director Susan D. Hughson received the completed ASIRT investigation, and after a careful review of the evidence, has determined that the officer was lawfully placed and in the lawful execution of his duty. His use of lethal force was not only objectively and subjectively reasonable, given the other man’s unlawful use of the machete, it was reasonably necessary. Indeed, it is possible — if not likely — that the officer’s use of his sidearm saved his life. While the subject officer did cause serious injury to the man with the machete, his conduct did not and could not constitute a criminal offence.
The 24-year-old man was charged with offences stemming from this incident and remains before the court. As such, ASIRT will not comment further on this matter.
ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.