Quadriplegic Alberta teen sues RCMP for $10.5 M
A teenager who says an arrest in Fort McMurray left him a quadriplegic is suing the RCMP for $10.6 million.
The teen — who cannot be named because he was 16 at the time — was shot by RCMP on Feb. 11, 2012.
In a statement of claim filed late last month, the teen alleges his injuries were caused by the actions of RCMP.
“As a result of the shooting and subsequent pulling of the plaintiff out of the vehicle, which aggravated the initial injuries from the shooting, [the teen] suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury and other injuries and was rendered a complete quadriplegic,” the document states.
According to the statement of claim, the teen was chased by RCMP while he was driving a reportedly stolen Toyota Corolla.
The car was eventually boxed in by three unmarked RCMP cruisers. When the boy tried to flee, he was shot after two officers fired at him.
The incident was investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.
In a news release from April 18, 2013, ASIRT said that the boy received “immediate medical attention” after he was wounded.
But the statement of claim alleges that officers dragged the teen from the car onto the ground after he was shot. That’s when he claims the officers gave each other high fives and congratulated each other.
The teen further alleges that the officers taunted him, telling him that he “got what he deserved” for trying to run from police.
The court document states that the teen was “obviously seriously injured” and should not have been dragged from the vehicle.
The lawsuit names nine Alberta RCMP officers — three designated as John Doe I, John Doe II, and John Doe III — the Attorney General of Canada, and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson as defendants in the suit.
The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.
ASIRT found actions of RCMP 'legally justified'
The investigation from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team lasted several months and involved 10 ASIRT investigators, 21 civilian witnesses and 19 police witnesses.
The team did, however, send the complete findings of their investigation to Alberta Justice for review.
According to ASIRT executive direction Clifton Purvis, the organization does this in 40 to 50 per cent of its overall case load, when the evidence arouses “suspicion that a criminal offence has been made.”
The Crown Prosecutor then weighed the evidence against two tests: whether there was a reasonable likelihood of conviction and whether it was in the public interest to proceed with charges.
The Crown said that the officers were “legally justified” and ruled no criminal charges should be laid. Jane McClellan, who was then ASIRT’s acting executive director, agreed.
ASIRT is called in every time a civilian is killed or seriously injured as a result of police actions. CBC asked the organization about allegations the teen was dragged to the ground after he was wounded.
"Whether there was a dragging, or whether there wasn't -- you know I can't confirm or deny it,” Purvis said.
“And if you're asking me did I intentionally leave something out in an attempt to withhold that information? Of course not. No, I didn't."
The Alberta Solicitor General and the RCMP declined CBC’s request for an interview on the case.