Man shot by police had taken officer's stun gun: SIU
Published Friday, April 13, 2018 12:36PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 13, 2018 6:05PM EDT
A Cambridge man who was shot by a police officer had taken the officer’s stun gun and was pointing it at him, according to a new report.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared a Waterloo Regional Police officer -- described in court documents as Const. Robert Prentice -- of any wrongdoing in connection with the March 2017 shooting of Maurice Rivard.
The SIU report sheds new light on what happened between when Prentice pulled Rivard over and when he shot him.
Rivard was shot in the abdomen. He required emergency surgery because the bullet had travelled through his intestines and was lodged behind his spine.
According to the SIU, the series of events began when police received a 911 call about a vehicle “driving all over the road and running a red light” while missing its back bumper.
Prentice caught up with the vehicle on Ottawa Street South near Courtland Avenue. The vehicle turned onto Lilac Street and pulled over.
SIU investigators found that Rivard did not remain in his vehicle after being pulled over. Instead, he got out, walked up to the cruiser and started yelling.
After that, he allegedly grabbed Prentice’s vest and tried to pull him out of his cruiser. A struggle ensued, during which the officer fired his stun gun, although the officer became “subjected to the electrical current” and dropped the stun gun onto the road.
The SIU says Rivard then picked up the stun gun and pointed it at Prentice, who ran around his cruiser, pulled out his gun and shot Rivard once.
A doctor told the SIU that Rivard was “combative and uncooperative” after being taken to hospital and had to be sedated several times. A blood-alcohol test revealed that Rivard had nearly double the legal limit of alcohol in his system, while a toxicology test detected traces of marijuana.
In clearing Prentice, the SIU found that his actions were “objectively reasonable” given the threat posed by an intoxicated Rivard having access to a stun gun.
“(He) was dealing with a very angry, combative, irrational and intoxicated male,” SIU director Tony Loparco wrote in the report.
“He believed that he was at risk of death or grievous bodily harm. Had he turned to any of his lesser user of force options, including his baton or his hands, he would have put himself in the direct line of the (stun gun).”
Prentice did not speak with SIU investigators, but did provide them with copies of his notes.
Rivard has been charged with attemptiung to disarm a police officer. His case is currently before the courts.