Manitoba

No charges for officer who fired warning shots as intoxicated man drove tractor toward him: police watchdog

Crown attorneys recommended against laying criminal charges against an RCMP officer who fired warning shots when a man drove a tractor with a cultivator toward the officer nearly a year ago, Manitoba's police watchdog says.

Officer's actions in 2019 incident near Roblin were reasonable: Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba

A man reportedly drunk or high drove a tractor toward an RCMP on June 1, 2019, and the officer fired warning shots to get him to stop. (CBC)

An RCMP officer who fired warning shots into the air as a man drove a tractor toward him acted reasonably and won't face charges, Manitoba's police watchdog says.

Crown attorneys recommended against laying criminal charges against the officer following the 2019 incident, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said in an investigation report released Thursday.

On June 1, 2019, two Mounties responded to a family disturbance call on a farm in Roblin, Man., a community about 330 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, near the Saskatchewan border.

The officers tried arresting a man — a known methamphetamine user who was reported to be drunk or high at the time of the incident. The man was "out of control in his parents' house," says the investigation report.

According to witnesses interviewed by the Independent Investigation Unit, the man was stepping out of the home with a beer in hand when officers arrived. He took off his shirt, then ran from the officers toward nearby bush.

The man eventually hopped into the seat of a tractor with a cultivator attached, drove through a barbed wire fence, then drove toward one of the officers "in a manner that threatened his safety," said the IIU.

The police officer fired two warning shots into the air, to try to get the man to stop the tractor, the IIU said. The man drove the tractor to a nearby ATV, which he used to get away.

A file photo shows a tractor with a cultivator attachment. (Twitter)

No injuries were reported, the IIU says.

Investigators with the unit interviewed the officer who fired his gun, along with two other officers and a civilian witness. They also analyzed various reports, field notes, audio recordings, the officer's firearm qualification records and the RCMP firearms discharge policy.

The IIU's civilian director forwarded the file to Manitoba prosecutors, who found the case did not meet the standard for laying charges and that the officer's actions "met a standard of care that would have been employed by a reasonable person in the same situation," according to the IIU.

The Independent Investigation Unit is mandated to investigate all serious incidents involving on- or off-duty officers in Manitoba.

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