Prosecutor says Alberta Mounties failed at police work in manslaughter trial
December 8, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Dec. 8, 2022, Edmonton, Alta. – The prosecutor in a manslaughter trial of two Alberta Mounties says that the case is about failing to do basic police work.
Const. Jessica Brown and Cpl. Randy Stenger are accused in the fatal shooting of Clayton Crawford on July 3, 2018, near Whitecourt, Alta., about 180 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
The jury heard Crawford suffered from 10 gunshot wounds after Brown fired her carbine rifle eight times, while Stenger shot his pistol four times.
Whitecourt RCMP were notified about the sighting of a purple pickup truck at a rest stop that was seen fleeing the area of a shooting the day before, but that there was confusion about whether the driver was considered a target or suspect.
Crown attorney Linda Shin told the jury that Brown and Stenger made assumptions about the information that was given to them about Crawford.
Stenger and Brown said in their testimonies last week that they fired shots at Crawford when he tried to flee from a rest stop after he was approached by armed officers wearing hard body armour.
Shin says that before Crawford was approached, Brown had multiple opportunities to seek out more information about the driver of the truck and the shooting the day earlier.
“(Brown’s) guesses or assumptions were neither educated nor reasonable,” said Shin. “She had all the information she needed, distorted to fit the picture she already painted.”
The jury was told that when Brown and Stenger approached the truck, it appeared as though the man in the driver’s seat was sleeping.
Brown testified she saw Crawford reach between his legs. A third officer broke the driver’s window with a baton and there was a struggle.
“Mr. Crawford was not resisting any legal arrest,” Shin said Thursday. “It was Crawford who was being unlawfully assaulted.”
Brown also testified that Crawford started the truck and began driving backward. She said she thought he was using the truck as a weapon and she feared for her life and the lives of her colleagues.
Stenger testified that Crawford was trying to run them over, and it was an automatic reaction for him to fire his gun.
However, Shun argued that the only natural reaction for Crawford was to panic after he faced the barrel of a semi-automatic weapon.
Shin repeated that is was Stenger and Brown who caused the danger at the rest stop because of the information that they did not have, nor seek.
“We do not want the police running around, half-cocked, wielding assault weapons.” Shin told the jury.
“Clayton Crawford deserved to go home to loved ones and, tragically, did not.”
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