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.