A video of a Siksika man being shot by police after trying to drive over a Calgary officer in an SUV has been released to CBC News.
Though he was originally charged with attempted murder, provincial court Judge John Bascom accepted Einar Bearhat's plea to assault with a weapon on Friday.
Bascom also agreed to release the video, which was played in court.
On Nov. 3, 2015, officers were parked under the Fifth Avenue flyover responding to a hit and run involving a pedestrian whose leg was broken when a vehicle intentionally drove onto the sidewalk.
Cst. Cameron Ursel and his partner were among the officers who arrived at the scene. Ursel parked under the flyover in a marked police van.
The surveillance video shows a black SUV — driven by Bearhat — driving over a sidewalk and approaching the officers before taking a run at Ursel. The officer dove into the police van to avoid being hit.
The video shows how little time Ursel had to react.
"Those split seconds have had such a massive impact on his life," said Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson.
Officer still dealing with impact
The door of the police van, which was open at the time, was folded forward after Bearhat plowed into it.
As he was trying to mow down Ursel, Bearhat was shot in the chest by Cst. Trevor Lindsay, but kept driving until he hit a parked car about a block away on Riverfront Avenue.
The crash was witnessed by an off-duty officer who noticed the driver had been shot. Bearhat was arrested at the scene.
Sixteen months after the incident, Ursel is still dealing with the toll it's taken on his life.
"Nothing I could ever say or write will ever express how much this has affected my life," wrote Ursel in a victim impact statement read in court. "This has affected my work life, my personal life, my emotional health, my mental health and my physical health."
The officer said he now has trouble stepping out of cars without fear, suffers from severe "incapacitating" headaches and has had to seek counseling.
'Courts must protect police officers'
The fact that Bearhat attacked a police officer was an aggravating factor, said Ewenson.
"It really paints a perfect picture ... to see how wrong and how badly things can go for officers who are on the front line."
Bascom agreed and accepted a joint submission of a 2½-year sentence by defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli and Crown prosecutors Mike Ewenson and Thom Forsyth.
"The courts must protect police officers," said Bascom.
Bearhat has already served about two years of that sentence.
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