Manitoba

Manitoba Mountie charged with careless use of a firearm after police watchdog investigation

Manitoba's police watchdog announced updates in four investigations on Friday morning, including one where an RCMP constable was charged with careless use of a firearm after he shot his service gun in his home while off duty last year, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba says.

Independent Investigation Unit released updates on 4 separate cases Friday

A sign outside the office of the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba is pictured. The police watchdog announced updates in four investigations on Friday morning. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Manitoba's police watchdog announced updates in four separate investigations on Friday morning, including one where an RCMP constable was charged with careless use of a firearm after he shot his service gun in his home while off duty last year, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba says.

The charge was laid after Zane Tessler, the watchdog's civilian director, got a Crown opinion from the Manitoba Prosecution Service and determined there are "reasonable grounds to believe an offence occurred under the Criminal Code," the unit said in a news release.

Const. Jacob Clement has been issued a summons to appear in Brandon provincial court on Aug. 12, the release said.

The charge stems from an incident on June 27, 2020. It was reported to the watchdog the same day and announced publicly three days later, an news release from June 2020 said. No injuries were reported as a result of that incident, that release said.

Since the matter is now before the courts, the Independent Investigation Unit won't comment further on the investigation.

No charges in fatal flip

The unit also announced an update in what it described as a fatal vehicle flip that happened after a police chase was called off.

The vehicle flipped around midnight on Jan. 22 in Morden. The Morden Police Service reported it to the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba the next day, the watchdog said in a separate news release.

The Independent Investigation Unit said according to that notification, a police officer tried to pull over a vehicle but it took off. The officer then chased the vehicle, but stopped for safety reasons.

Later, that same officer found the vehicle flipped on its side in a field, with the driver and passenger both nearby and in need of medical attention. Both were taken to hospital. The passenger, who was described only as a man, has since died, the news release said.

The release did not specify how much time passed between the chase and when the vehicle was found.

Investigators met with the driver of the vehicle and three civilian witnesses. Because there was a death, a request for a civilian monitor was made to the Manitoba Police Commission, the release said.

Investigators also reviewed police radio transmissions and dispatch records, an RCMP collision analyst report, scene photographs, notes and reports from various witness officers, a pursuit driving report, video surveillance footage, the driver's medical and pathology report, and the Morden Police Service pursuit policy.

Tessler concluded there was no evidence that any officer contributed to the collision, or that would justify making anyone the subject officer of the investigation, the release said. As a result, there is no further requirement or need for the unit to continue investigating, it said.

The driver remains before the courts on charges, though the release did not say what they were. Tessler's full report on the death will be released once those charges are dealt with, the release said.

No charges for officer accused of assault

The Independent Investigation Unit also said Friday it has also closed an investigation regarding an alleged injury during an arrest last year by Portage la Prairie RCMP. 

A 55-year-old man said his wrist had been injured while he was being handcuffed by police on May 22, 2020. He reported the injury to police the following month, who then reported it to the investigative unit, which is mandated to investigate all serious injuries involving police in the province.

Though the police watchdog says the injury did not meet its definition of serious injury, it determined it was in the public interest to investigate. 

Investigators interviewed the man, four RCMP officers and four civilian witnesses, in addition to reviewing RCMP notes and reports, among other sources.

The investigative unit said Friday it concluded there was no evidence to sustain any charges against the officer.

Case dropped on allegation of stolen jewelry

The unit said it has also ended its investigation into an allegation that property was stolen by an on-duty RCMP officer, after the items that were reported stolen were found.

The RCMP received a formal complaint from a male alleging that officers who arrested him during a motor vehicle incident north of Ile des Chênes on April 2 seized personal items worth $15,000. 

RCMP received the complaint on April 14 and reported it to the Independent Investigation Unit on June 1.

Later that month, the male alleging the theft contacted a senior investigator with the police watchdog and said he had located the jewelry he reported stolen.

The file has now been closed by the investigation unit.

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