Nfld. & Labrador

RNC officer cleared in MUN shooting, RCMP concludes

The RCMP has found that an officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary acted within the Canadian Criminal Code and policing policies when he fired a shot at a man suspected of theft last winter.
An RCMP investigation into Const. Dustin Spurrell's conduct has concluded. (CBC)

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.

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.

Justin Chipman, 27, was found not guilty in September of assaulting four police officers. (CBC)

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. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now