Manitoba

No charges recommended against officer who killed South Sudanese man last year: Manitoba police watchdog

A Winnipeg police officer who shot and killed a 43-year-old man while responding to a call at a Colony Street apartment building last February should not be charged, Manitoba's police watchdog concluded in its final report into the death.

Investigation hampered by 'inordinate delay' in toxicology report: Independent Investigation Unit

On the day Machuar Madut, 43, was fatally shot by police, witnesses say he broke another tenant's door down and trashed the apartment with a hammer. (Submitted by Sandy Deng)

The Winnipeg police officer who shot and killed a 43-year-old man while responding to a call at a Colony Street apartment building last February should not be criminally charged, Manitoba's police watchdog concluded in its final report into the incident.

The use of lethal force by the officer who shot Machuar Madut, 43, on Feb. 23, 2019, was "reasonable, necessary, justified and unavoidable," said the report from the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates all serious incidents involving police officers in the province.

In the days following Madut's death, Winnipeg's South Sudanese community condemned the shooting of the man, who came to Canada in 2003 after fleeing war in Sudan.

Neighbours told investigators from the investigative unit that Madut lived with mental illness and had recently been evicted from his apartment because he damaged the door to his suite, said the IIU's report, which was dated Dec. 23, 2019, and released publicly on Wednesday.

One of the witnesses, who was related to Madut, said the man was told to leave the apartment by the end of February 2019.

The relative said Madut had received treatment for mental illness but was not regularly taking his prescription medication. They also said Madut was paranoid, and believed he was being followed and that people on TV were talking to him.

Neighbours said the day before Madut was fatally shot by police, he had emptied his apartment of all belongings, including furniture and appliances. The next day, he broke down the door to another tenant's apartment, where he then began smashing objects using a hammer.

Witnesses said Machuar Madut used a hammer to break into a tenant's suite on the third floor, then caused more damage once inside. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

Statements from witnesses and officers included in the report said when police arrived, Madut brandished a hammer, threatening to hit one officer with it and trying to hit another.

Two officers, including the one who shot Madut, said they tried using a stun gun on him first, but it had no effect because he was wearing a bulky winter jacket and several layers of clothing.

The investigation consulted notes and reports from involved officers, download reports from two stun guns used, copies of witness statements, audio of 911 calls, police radio communications, scene photographs and the forensic identification unit's report.

The report said evidence collected showed the hammer was found near the spot where Madut fell when he was shot, and that only one officer shot a gun.

Autopsy and toxicology reports were also consulted in the investigation. The report noted a significant delay in the time it took an RCMP lab to analyze samples and produce a toxicology report on Madut.

Investigators did not receive the report until 260 days after the initial samples were submitted for analysis, which constituted "an inordinate delay and seriously hampered [the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba] in finalizing its investigation in reasonable time," said the report by Zane Tessler, the civilian director of the unit.

No drugs or alcohol were found, but acetone — an organic compound which can be produced naturally in the human body, or produced chemically — was detected in Madut's blood and urine. The report says acetone would not cause psychosis, and its presence was likely because of insufficient caloric intake over a prolonged period.

In November, the province's chief medical examiner called for an inquest into Madut's death.