Vancouver Sun

Victoria officer grabbed handgun instead of Taser, police confirm


VICTORIA — A Victoria police officer who shot and injured a man in 2005 was reaching for his Taser but grabbed his handgun by accident, police confirmed Monday.

It had long been speculated that Const. Mike Miller confused his Taser and pistol while struggling with a violent man outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Esquimalt on Sept. 10, 2005.

But the department had never acknowledg­ed the mistake, even last month when Miller resigned on the day of his disciplina­ry hearing, because it was a “ personnel matter.”

Miller had been trying to subdue Daniel Hammond, 25, who was reportedly banging on windows at the restaurant and causing a disturbanc­e.

An internal investigat­ion concluded Miller drew his Taser from its holster on his left hip, but put it in his right pants pocket so he could handcuff Hammond. But Hammond resisted and ended up wrestling on the ground with Miller and another officer. Miller pulled his firearm from his right holster — thinking it was the Taser — and fired into Hammond’s stomach, police say. Hammond survived and is suing the police.

The version of the Taser gun Miller used was designed to mimic the feel and weight of a Glock pistol, so an officer who trained with a gun would be comfortabl­e with a Taser as well.

Victoria police have since purchased different Taser devices that less closely resemble handguns, said interim chief Bill Naughton. Miller’s resignatio­n was negotiated to avoid the costly disciplina­ry process, said Naughton. “ I believe that decision was in the best interest of Const. Miller, this department and the public,” he said.

He admitted Victoria was only going public with details of the case now because B. C.’ s police watchdog complained the public had not been given enough informatio­n about the shooting.

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