Calgary police officer cleared in March 2015 shooting that left man paralyzed

The Calgary police officer who shot Morgan Thompson near an anti-racism rally last year will not face charges, Alberta Serious Incident Response Team executive director Susan Hughson said Thursday.

Morgan Thompson allegedly used pipe as weapon in confrontation after anti-racism rally

On the left, a photo of Morgan Thompson reportedly shouting "white power" at a crowd during an anti-racism rally in March 2015. On the right, a jacket left at the scene after Thompson was shot by police in a downtown alley. (Left photo: Saima Jamal, right photo: CBC)

The Calgary police officer who shot Morgan Thompson near an anti-racism rally last year will not face charges, Alberta Serious Incident Response Team executive director Susan Hughson said Thursday.

Thompson, who was 30 at the time, was shot in March 2015, shortly after confronting people gathered at an anti-racism rally near city hall.

Witnesses reported Thompson was agitated and repeatedly shouted "white power" at the group while holding a clenched fist above is head.

Police shot Thompson in the alley behind the Palomino, in the 100 block of Seventh Avenue S.E. in Calgary. (Jeret Holt/CBC)

As police approached Thompson, he began walking away from them, and seeing them following, quickened his pace, said Hughson.

Thompson was followed by officers — including a group of recruits — into an alleyway behind the Palomino Smokehouse in downtown Calgary, where there was a confrontation, which was captured by two CCTV cameras.

"A short distance into the alley, the man stopped running and turned toward the officer who was still running toward him," said Hughson.

"The man raised his hands and arms out to either side of his body at waist height. The officer slowed to a walk and approached the man, placing his right hand on the man's shoulder."

The two began talking, then Thompson suddenly punched the officer in the head.

"The officer at that point drew his police baton and struck the man on the left wrist area," said Hughson.

"As the officer then raised the baton, the man reached with his right hand, back behind his back on his right side and ultimately produced a long, silver or white looking object that looked like a pipe."

Police said Morgan Thompson was carrying this pipe when an officer shot him. (ASIRT handout)

That caused the officer to drop his baton and pull his gun. Thompson raised the pipe above his head and threw it at the officer, hitting him in the leg.

The officer shot four times, hitting Thompson twice.

"All four shots were fired within 1.1 seconds," said Hughson.

Thompson was rushed to hospital where he spent months recovering. He is now confined to a wheelchair as a paraplegic.

Police said in a release Thursday that Thompson will not be charged, as "it has been deemed not to be in the public's interest. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, ASIRT said it has been working "at capacity" after a 100-per-cent increase in files for the past two years compared to the average over the time period of 2008 to 2013.