A Winnipeg police officer will not be criminally charged for the fatal shooting of a teen who was driving a stolen vehicle last spring.
The unnamed officer fired two bullets at Eishia Hudson, a 16-year-old Indigenous girl, after the Jeep rammed a police vehicle, led officers on a pursuit along a busy road, crashed into a truck and tried to move again as officers surrounded it, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said in a 15-page report Thursday.
The unit investigates serious incidents involving police in the province and consults with the provincial prosecution service.
“We are of the view that there is no factual or legal basis to lay any charges against (the officer) for his involvement in this matter,” the report quotes the prosecution service in its conclusion.
Police had responded to a liquor store robbery on April 8 and said a group of teens threatened staff and walked out with liquor.
Officers spotted the stolen Jeep and pursued it as it struck the police cruiser, crossed over a median and crashed into the truck, police said at the time. They also said shots were fired as officers tried to apprehend people in the Jeep.
The report said officers, along with some civilian witnesses, said the Jeep continued to move as officers surrounded it and ordered those inside to stop and get out.
The report said a use-of-force expert from Alberta was consulted and concluded that officers were right to draw their weapons.
“I am of the opinion that since this was a high-risk arrest with offenders who had just committed a commercial robbery and had threatened to stab the victims, the officers were correct to be concerned that a lethal-force threat could suddenly arise,” the expert says in the report.
The report is not the last word on the shooting. An inquest led by a provincial court judge is normally held when people die while being involved with police or in correctional facilities. One is expected to be called in the near future.
The province’s children’s advocate has also said a probe by her office is expected.
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