Police doghandler cleared of excessive force in shooting
A complaint of excessive force laid against an Edmonton police doghandler in the shooting of a suspect six years ago has been dismissed by the presiding officer in his disciplinary hearing.
Sgt. Bruce Edwards shot Kirk Steele four times in July 2006 after Steele stabbed his police dog Wizzard with a knife.
In a 90-page ruling, retired Calgary police Insp. Paul Manuel cleared Edwards because he found that shooting Steele was his "only available option" and that he knew "Steele posed a lethal threat" to other officers.
Steele's lawyer Tom Engel said he was disappointed but not surprised by the ruling
"Our concern is that the Edmonton Police Service, in prosecuting this thing, doesn't appear to have had its heart in the prosecution," he said.
Steele plans to appeal
Steele spent several weeks in hospital on life-support after the shooting but survived. On Tuesday, he expressed his unhappiness with Manuel's ruling.
"Well, how should I feel?" he said. "Nothing came my way today."
Steele says he will appeal the ruling to the civilian Law Enforcement Review Board.
Edwards was cleared by former police chief Mike Boyd in November 2007 following an internal police investigation.
However, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Eric Macklin ruled in 2010 that Steele's charter rights were violated when Edwards used excessive force against him.
The judge didn't believe Edwards when he said Steele was a danger to him and two other officers. Macklin also found the police investigation to be "sloppy and negligent" which included poor note-taking by an investigator.
The judge stayed two of three criminal charges — possession of a weapon and obstruction of justice — faced by Steele.
Steele was convicted of being unlawfully at large and sentenced to six months in jail.