Fatal shooting inquiry recommends police in Alberta review previous reports on use of force

·3 min read
The public fatality inquiry follows a fatal police shooting near 66th Street and 123rd Avenue in Edmonton on August 18, 2018. (Nathan Gross/CBC - image credit)
The public fatality inquiry follows a fatal police shooting near 66th Street and 123rd Avenue in Edmonton on August 18, 2018. (Nathan Gross/CBC - image credit)

A provincial court judge wants all police forces in Alberta to examine police conduct report recommendations from two major cities following the fatal police shooting of a 30-year-old man in Edmonton.

Judge Jody J. Moher wrote the recommendations after a public fatality inquiry held in May and June in Edmonton. The report was made public on Wednesday.

Sterling Ross Cardinal was shot multiple times by Edmonton Police Service Const. Christopher Clark on the night of Aug. 18, 2018, after Cardinal was ordered to surrender.

Earlier that night, Cardinal was driving a stolen vehicle involved in a hit-and-run with another vehicle in the area of 66th Street and 123rd Avenue.

Cardinal, who was in possession of a rifle, did not surrender and exchanged fire with the constable. He died on scene after being shot multiple times.

Toronto, Calgary recommendations

In April this year, CBC News gathered statistics to show more people had been shot by police in Edmonton than any other city in Canada.

In her report, Moher provides two recommendations directed toward all police forces in Alberta, including EPS.

Moher's first recommendation calls for a review of past police conduct reports by former Deputy Attorney General of Canada Frank Iacobucci in Toronto and retired Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Neil Wittmann in Calgary.

Iacobucci 's 413-page report, which was released in 2014, included 84 recommendations for the Toronto Police Service following the killing of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.

The report details changes in training and equipment for police to better deal with people in crisis.

It highlighted the need to achieve zero deaths in interactions between the public and police.

Wittmann's 389-page report was released in 2018 after Calgary police shot civilians in 10 separate incidents two years earlier.

Five of those incidents were fatal. That year, Calgary police had the highest number of shootings compared to any other major city.

Wittmann's report detailed 65 recommendations, which Calgary police accepted for implementation.

The recommendations related to provincial oversight, officer recruitment, officer education and training, use of force and how incidents are handled, mental health issues, police culture and strategic management.

Moher's second recommendation calls for more resources to develop evidence-based policies and procedures for dealing with "criminal flight events," whereby an officer perceives a driver as evading police.

Supplied/Jocelyn Coutrie
Supplied/Jocelyn Coutrie

Family impact

Cardinal was an Indigenous man and father of three from Calling Lake, Alta., over 200 kilometres north of Edmonton.

Members of Cardinal's family attended the inquiry virtually or in-person. Near its conclusion, they spoke about the impact of Cardinal's death.

His sister, Julianna Laroche, described him as "one of the broken people" and a "good kid," according to the report.

She also spoke about Cardinal's struggle with addiction and how she believes her brother did not receive any meaningful supports or treatment during his time in the correctional system.

The inquiry also notes the "intergenerational effects of residential school were manifest in his upbringing."

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