Survivors of Métis man shot by Mounties file suit
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.
Earlier this month, ASIRT’S Susan Hughson announced two Mounties would face charges in the death of Clayton Crawford.