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Police watchdog clears Mounties in fatal shooting of veteran

Richard Rosenthal, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, is photographed at his office in Surrey, B.C., in August 2012.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

B.C.'s police watchdog has ruled that four RCMP officers acted appropriately when the attempted arrest of a distraught man ended in his death.

Independent Investigations Office director Richard Rosenthal issued his report Wednesday into the Sept. 10, 2012, shooting of 40-year-old military veteran Gregory Matters in Prince George, B.C.

The report details a two-day incident that began with a fight between Matters and his brother, resulting in a police standoff at a rural property and ending with shots fired as Matters became irrational during what had been a calm surrender.

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The report says Matters was shot as he raised an axe and charged toward an officer who had unsuccessfully tried to use a taser to disarm the veteran, who served during the Bosnian conflict.

Rosenthal says although there are inconsistencies in the officers' testimony, the differences don't appear to be an attempt to deceive.

Matters' family was given the Memorial Cross award just two weeks ago in recognition of soldiers whose deaths are linked to their military service. He was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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