An Edmonton police officer who shot at a fleeing suspect seven times should be charged with attempted murder, criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel said a day after the judge in the case said the officer's actions constituted police misconduct.
Engel represents Kirk Steele, 37, who was shot at seven times in July 2006 by then Const. Bruce Edwards after he stabbed a police dog with a steak knife.
Steele, who was trying to avoid arrest for a parole violation, had fled out the bathroom window of an Edmonton residence when police arrived to carry out an investigation. Edwards sent the police dog he had with him after Steele, who attempted to fend the animal off with the knife before he was shot at.
Four of the bullets struck Steele, putting him in hospital for several weeks on life-support.
He was charged with possession of a weapon, obstruction of justice and being unlawfully at large. On Thursday, he was convicted of the latter charge but cleared of the first two.
In handing down his verdict, Court of Queen's Bench Judge Eric Macklin said Steele's rights had been violated by Edwards, who, he said, engaged in police misconduct.
The judge called Edwards's actions "excessive force" and "a clear example of cruel and unusual treatment."
Edwards has since been promoted to sergeant and has never been charged or disciplined for his actions.
Engel said the promotion should never have happened and wants the officer to face charges.
"Well, start with attempt murder," said Engel. "Aggravated assault with a firearm, careless use of a firearm — there's a little shopping list of criminal charges. But there's no doubt that he tried to kill him. So, that's attempt murder."
Edmonton police refused to comment on the case Friday because it is going before the Law Enforcement Review Board. But they did tell CBC News that Edwards now works in the officer safety unit, where he provides training to other officers about firearms and the use of force.
"It's astounding that he would be put in a position like that," said Engel.
"I hope that the solicitor general and the Edmonton Police Commission does something about the way the Edmonton Police Service not only investigates complaints but what they do in promotion and putting people in teaching positions."