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Canadian Police Urged to Create Foot Chase Policy After Fatal Shooting

January 08, 2016  | 

A judge is urging the Calgary Police Service in Canada to consider creating a policy for foot pursuits after a police chase ended with an officer fatallyl shooting a man brandishing a screwdriver in 2011, reports the Calgary Herald.

The fatal confrontation on Aug. 11, 2011 happened after friends led police on an hours-long dangerous driving spree around north Calgary in stolen pickup trucks. Jonathan Rawlings, 36, and a woman eventually abandoned one of the stolen vehicles and ran into a residential area in Whitehorn.

Rawlings was pursed on foot by an officer — a 10-year- veteran — and followed to a backyard where he held an edged instrument (later determined to be a screwdriver) and shouted he had a knife. Rawlings was shot four times by the lone police officer and died as a result of his injuries.

A public fatality inquiry report, released Tuesday, into the fatal shooting more than four years ago concluded the incident was "tragic and difficult" for both the victim, the victim's loved ones and the police officers involved "who were doing what they were trained to do."

In the report, the judge stated while it is difficult to formulate recommendations that could prevent similar deaths, it is apparent that police foot pursuits are dangerous for the pursued subject, police officers and innocent bystanders.

The only recommendation urged by the judge in the 19-page report is that the Calgary Police Service "give consideration to formulating a policy on police foot pursuits, including a consideration of holding reviews of those pursuits in serious incidents directly involving foot pursuits."

Calgary Police Association president Howard Burns called the suggestion fair.

"It wouldn't hurt to examine and look at a policy in relation to foot pursuits," he said.

The service has policies relating to vehicle chases but lacks a similar formal policy respecting foot pursuits.

Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Concerned @ 1/9/2016 12:30 PM

Hmmmm. I wonder why no one seems too upset with the suspect's actions of threatening an officer with a knife (even though it was a screwdriver, it can still kill you) after subjecting society at large to multiple threatening situations by running from law enforcement in a vehicle and on foot. I guess the LEO professionals protecting us are the only ones held to any standard anymore.

Tschako @ 1/9/2016 7:55 PM

Naturally, I don't see where the officer did anything wrong. We don't get paid to be stabbed or shot. We get paid to keep others from being stabbed or shot, or to effect punishment for those who do. There is so much emphasis on firearms by the Confiscators, that the public no longer thinks a knife or screwdriver can be fatal.

Leonard @ 1/10/2016 7:15 PM

Simply because a suspect shouldn't have to be killed for having a screwdriver in their hand. Fatal shooting don't have to happen in cases like these

AJ @ 1/11/2016 7:59 AM

Nothing wrong happened here. The suspect chose the outcome. I don't want cops trained to back off when suspects brandish a deadly weapon. Where do you think the bad guy is going to go next? That's right genius, to car jack someone for an escape ride.

Cop cornered the offender and the offender chose the outcome. He just have easily could have surrendered.

tedb @ 1/11/2016 8:52 AM

So, don't find it threatening that, at the end of this long chase, by vehicle and on foot, that the decedent just happened to have a screwdriver in his hand when cornered by the officer? And that he shouted out that he had a knife? I guess in your world he could just as easily had a pillow in his hand and it would have been considered the same as the screwdriver as far as danger to the officer and the public? What a fool you are.

Leonard @ 1/11/2016 4:26 PM

I expect officers to be able to handle these types of incidents without resorting to deadly force. British police do it without too much of a problem.

Chuck W @ 1/12/2016 11:03 AM

Interesting, I worked a homicide one time not too long ago, a female was stabbed 143 times in her face, chest, stomach and genitals. turns out she was stabbed with a Phillips head screwdriver. Maybe, just maybe "lenny" the bad guy shouldn't have confronted the officer with a deadly weapon and made the officer have to resort to deadly force. By the way Lenny, I thought you said a few months back that you would never grace us with you present on these sites anymore.

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