Former cop defends officers who shot suspect at Science World
Published Sunday, August 30, 2015 4:31PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, August 31, 2015 7:54AM PDT
“It’s probably the most dramatic officer-involved shooting video I’ve seen,” says Leo Knight of the surveillance video that recently surfaced of police shooting a suspect on the deck of Science World in June 2014.
Knight would know. He’s a former Vancouver police officer, and he runs a blog about crime that covers cases from around Canada and around the world.
“Clearly in the video you see he's desperately trying to get around the car to shoot an officer when he gets shot,” Knight said. “How can you call this anything but justified?”
Knight’s question is in response to the Independent Investigations Office -- the agency charged with investigating police shootings -- which submitted a report to Crown Counsel last week indicating that an officer may have committed a crime during the pursuit of the gunman.
Though Knight feels that the video shows officers involved in the incident did nothing wrong, the IIO says it must have evidence to “totally exonerate” an officer -- anything less, and the organization is required to submit a report to the Crown.
“This case was handled like any other case that we refer to crown counsel,” said Kellie Kilpatrick, IIO executive director of public accountability. “Mr. Knight knows that our threshold is very low.”
The video in question -- first made public on Knight’s blog -- shows the culmination of a chase that began in Yaletown.
Accused gunman Gerald Battersby allegedly opened fire on his former employer, Reckless Bike Shop owner Paul Dragan, then fled the area on a bicycle.
Officers who witnessed the shooting gave chase, leading to two shootouts, first on Davie Street then again at Science World. Battersby was shot multiple times, but survived. He is now facing six charges of attempted murder, five involving police officers.
The IIO report itself is not a recommendation for charges. The decision to bring charges against an officer rests with the Crown. Still, Knight said officers he’s spoken to since the report was made are upset.
“Those members I’ve talked to in the last couple days are really quite angry,” he said. “They know how critical that incident was. They know the bravery of the officers involved and they know what went down … To think that they could possibly wind up with criminal charges against them for doing their job and doing it well and doing it bravely has just angered them.”