Sur­vivors of Métis man shot by Moun­ties file suit

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - KEVIN MARTIN Kmartin@post­media.com

The fa­tal shoot­ing of a Métis man by Moun­ties may have been race-re­lated, a law­suit filed in Cal­gary claims.

A state­ment of claim, filed on be­half of the sur­vivors of Clay­ton Craw­ford, says of­fi­cers vi­o­lated his char­ter rights — in­clud­ing the right not to face racial dis­crim­i­na­tion — when he was fa­tally shot two years ago near White­court, about 180 kilo­me­tres north­east of Ed­mon­ton.

“The de­ceased was Métis and a mem­ber of the Métis Na­tion of Al­berta,” the doc­u­ment, filed in Cal­gary Court of Queen’s Bench says.

“The of­fi­cer de­fen­dants’ ac­tions vi­o­lated the de­ceased’s right as a mem­ber of the Métis Na­tion of Al­berta to be free from dis­crim­i­na­tion pur­suant to sec­tion 15 of the Char­ter.”

The law­suit names Cpl. Randy Stenger and Const. Jes­sica Brown among the de­fen­dants. Ear­lier this month, the Al­berta Se­ri­ous In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team (ASIRT) an­nounced the two Moun­ties had been charged with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing death in con­nec­tion with Craw­ford’s fa­tal shoot­ing on July 3, 2018.

ASIRT ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Su­san Hugh­son said she re­viewed the ev­i­dence in the case, in­clud­ing dash­cam footage, and con­cluded there was enough to bring for­ward charges. Hugh­son said mem­bers of the RCMP were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a shoot­ing at a home in Val­halla Cen­tre from the night be­fore when they ap­proached Craw­ford’s ve­hi­cle, which was parked at a Chick­adee Creek rest stop, west of White­court.

A “con­fronta­tion oc­curred,” Hugh­son said, and one of­fi­cer shot at the ve­hi­cle with a ser­vice pis­tol and a sec­ond with a long-bar­rel car­bine ri­fle.

The law­suit, filed by Cal­gary lawyers Jared Kan­tor and Dale Fe­dorchuk, says Craw­ford, 31, was not sought or wanted by the po­lice at the time and was not a sus­pect in any crime.

“The de­fen­dant of­fi­cers at­tempted to forcibly re­move the de­ceased from the de­ceased’s mo­tor ve­hi­cle and, in the course of same, dis­charged their firearms,” the claim states.

It says Craw­ford was struck at least five times. “The of­fi­cer de­fen­dants acted de­lib­er­ately, reck­lessly and ma­li­ciously, and knew or ought to have known that their ac­tions were likely to kill the de­ceased.”

Also named as de­fen­dants are the fed­eral at­tor­ney gen­eral, the prov­ince, Wood­lands County and the Town of White­court.

Fe­dorchuk said he could not com­ment on the court ac­tion un­til he gets clear­ance from the de­ceased’s fam­ily.

The law­suit seeks be­reave­ment awards for Craw­ford’s mother and eight-year-old daugh­ter, and un­spec­i­fied gen­eral, puni­tive, ag­gra­vated and ex­em­plary dam­ages on be­half of them and his two broth­ers.

The al­le­ga­tions in the claim have not been tested in court.

GREG SOUTHAM FILES

Ear­lier this month, ASIRT’S Su­san Hugh­son an­nounced two Moun­ties would face charges in the death of Clay­ton Craw­ford.

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