Two Winnipeg police officers who shot and wounded a fleeing suspect will not be criminally charged, after the conclusion of an investigation by Manitoba’s police watchdog.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba’s final report released Wednesday reveals two Winnipeg Police Service officers shot their guns nine times during a short high-speed pursuit in January 2019.
The incident began when police were responding to a complaint of an attempted stabbing in the northeast part of the city, investigators wrote. The report said the three suspects left in a vehicle and the man behind the wheel refused to stop, which led to a chase.
Two cruisers initially not involved tried to block and contain the runaway vehicle by stopping in front and behind it, around Nairn Avenue and Panet Road.
Video obtained by investigators showed the cruisers did not have their emergency lights activated, according to the report, and officers got out to confront the vehicle, at which time it backed into a cruiser and took off.
Two officers shot their guns at the vehicle as it tried to escape.
The report said that second chase ended a few kilometres away in St. Boniface, near the intersection of Archibald Street and Marion Avenue, where the vehicle backed into another cruiser.
Police removed three people from the vehicle and arrested them.
One of them had a “superficial wound” to his neck, and the two others were not injured, investigators wrote. The injured man was treated in hospital, then taken into police custody.
The incident was reported to investigators on Jan. 9, and released to the public the following day.
Investigators combed through notes and reports from witness officers and the officers being investigated, audio recordings of the 911 call and radio communications, forensic reports, photos, analysis, surveillance video, medical reports, as well as interviews with two of the three suspects and civilian witnesses.
In the final report, the driver of the suspect vehicle said a cruiser drove up and struck him from behind, adding he did not hear the police say anything prior to the shooting. Later he could smell gunpowder and feel his neck burning, then went into shock and does not remember much after that, he told investigators in the report.
The report indicates there were two lacerations in his neck due to being hit by bullets.
Two civilians in a truck said they saw the scene. Both said in the report they heard more than two gunshots.
A firearms analysis found nine shell casings, according to the report prepared by civilian director Zane Tessler.
The Manitoba Prosecution Service advised that the incident did not meet the standards for filing charges in that it is unlikely the officers would be convicted.
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