RNC officer cleared in MUN shooting, RCMP concludes
The RCMP has found that an officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary acted properly when he fired a shot at a man suspected of theft last winter.
RNC Const. Dustin Spurrell fired a shot at Justin Chipman when attempting to arrest him in the parking lot of Memorial University's Field House Feb. 18.
According to the RNC, the RCMP determined Spurrell acted within the Canadian Criminal Code and the National Use of Force Model.
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During Chipman's trial in August, the court heard that the 27-year-old was the target of a surveillance sting dubbed Operation Hoodwink.
Chipman, who was driving a stolen SUV, led officers — including Spurrell — into the lot, broke the window of another vehicle and stole the laptop inside.
When the RNC moved in to apprehend Chipman, he attempted to speed away but drove straight into a snowbank instead.
Still, Chipman tried to get away, spinning tires in the snow.
That's when Spurrell fired a shot through the driver-side window, with the bullet grazing Chipman's chest. Spurrell testified he fired because he feared for his safety and that of his fellow officers, and that he aimed to kill, but missed.
At the time, Judge Lois Skanes found Chipman guilty of dangerous driving — but not for assaulting police officers.
Skanes concluded that Spurrell used excessive force by using his firearm.
The RCMP's investigation into the matter is finished.