The police officer who drove into Alain Magloire with his squad car says he wanted to neutralize him so officers on the scene would have a chance to subdue him.
Denis Côté, testifying today at the public inquiry into Magloire's death, said the manoeuvre wasn't something he learned at school, but made a split decision he believed might save the 41-year-old's life.
'If I neutralized him (with the car), the other officers would not need to use lethal force," said Côté.
In the end, Magloire, who suffered from mental illness and had been living on the street, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police just over a year ago outside a downtown bus station.
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Speaking at the inquiry today, Côté said he was heading back to the station when he heard the panicked voice of a female officer saying Magloire was refusing to drop the weapon he was carrying.
When he arrived outside the bus station, Côté said he saw at least three officers with their weapons drawn, all pointed at Magloire, who was holding a hammer in a threatening manner.
Côté told the inquiry it was clear to him the officers were about to kill Magloire. That's when he had the idea to use his car to minimize the threat, he said.
Magloire managed to jump and land on the hood of the car, he said.
Seconds later, Côté said Magloire was shot as he was poised to use his hammer to strike an officer who tried to tackle him.
"My move didn’t work," he told the inquiry.
When asked why he didn't wait for an officer with an electric stun gun to arrive on the scene, Côté said he didn't believe it was an option that would have worked.
Côté said a stun gun is usually used when the suspect is well contained and not threatening. He said he would not have tried it in this instance.
He said it was either his manoeuvre, or Magloire getting killed.
Côté added that every police station in downtown Montreal has one stun gun, and that since the police force has had them, they are rarely in the right place at the right time.
Several key witnesses have yet to testify at the hearings, which are in their second week.
Cmdr. Richard Thouin, who is responsible for the deployment of stun guns for the force, and Bruno Poulin, an expert on the use of police force, are scheduled appear.