Fatal shooting of meth dealer by Edmonton police was reasonable, ASIRT rules

No charges will be laid against three Edmonton police officers involved in a 2017 shootout that resulted in the death of a 30-year-old man, according to Alberta’s police watchdog.

'The use of lethal force was not only reasonable but necessary'

Susan Hughson, Alberta Serious Incident Response Team executive director, speaks to media Monday afternoon about an investigation into the fatal shooting by police of a drug dealer in Edmonton. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

No charges will be laid against three Edmonton police officers involved in a 2017 shootout that resulted in the death of a 30-year-old man, Alberta's police watchdog said Monday.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) released the findings of its investigation into the shooting, ruling that the decision of the officers to use lethal force on Sept. 9, 2017, was justified.

"The evidence does not provide reasonable grounds to believe that any officers committed any offences," executive director Susan Hughson said in a news release.

"The man's actions, however, placed officers in a situation where they were very clearly at risk of death or grievous bodily harm. In these circumstances, the use of lethal force was not only reasonable but necessary," Hughson said.

The shooting victim was the subject of an investigation into methamphetamine trafficking, according to ASIRT.

Edmonton police developed a plan to arrest the man, knowing he was likely armed and had a history of flight from police, Hughson said.

The EPS tactical unit was called in to help with the takedown.

The victim was followed to Westmount mall, where he parked a white Mercedes-Benz sedan. Two 18-year-old women were also in the car.

Three police vehicles boxed the car in.

Officers ordered the occupants to slowly exit the car, but after a brief standoff, the driver rammed two of the police vehicles, at which point an officer threw two cans of tear gas into the victim's car, Hughson said.

A black 9-mm handgun was recovered from the floor of the victim's car after the shooting. ASIRT investigators said the man fired two rounds at Edmonton police officers. (Supplied by ASIRT)

When the driver revealed a handgun, officers told the man, "Don't do it," several times, even firing a plastic baton-projectile round at him.

But when the man pointed his handgun directly at one of the officers, firing two rounds from inside the vehicle, police returned fire.

The man was immediately examined by paramedics and pronounced dead, Hughson added.

The two passengers were uninjured.

The victim's gun was found with shell casings matching the live rounds inside the gun. Hughson said a forensic examination of the car traced the path of the bullets fired by the victim in the direction of the officers.

ASIRT independently investigates serious and sensitive allegations of Alberta police misconduct.