Friday, 30 November 2007

Mountie killed mill worker in self-defence, report concludes

So once again the RCMP investigate one of their own and conclude that one of their members cannot ever be held responsible for anything. A man has an open beer on the street - not a huge crime by any measure - and mucks about when the cop stops him, giving a false name. The next thing we know for certain is that he is in a jail cell with a bullet in the back of his head.
Koester, 28, says Bush sucker-punched him while being booked in an interview room. Koester, who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 180 pounds, said the six-foot, 187-pound labourer was on top of his back choking the life out of him when he managed to free his gun.

In a physical feat even RCMP investigators conceded was worthy of a contortionist, the constable got the gun up to the back of Bush's head and shot him. Koester refused to reenact what happened for investigators and the coroner's inquest.

But the inquiry concludes that he was reasonably in fear of his life and acted in self defense.

If this was an isolated incident it might pass, but it is part of an increasingly frequent pattern of poorly trained and ill disciplined mounties far exceeding the reasonable use of force, and people ending up dead as a result.

It is obvious that Canada needs an independent police complaints authority that has powers to investigate and to compel testimony. It must not be staffed by police personnel or ex police personnel. We also need to think very carefully about whether we need a national police force at all. The mounties no longer deserve our trust or support, and must be disbanded.


Anonymous said...

Actually, he was never in a cell, he was in an interview room when the incident occurred.

Which is more likely- that a police officer decided to shoot a male in his custody that he was about to release on a promise-to-appear, just because? Or, that an intoxicated male became angry when he realized that he was being charged criminally for obstruction from what stemmed initially from an 'open liquor' offense.

I cannot fathom why you believe that the Constable would suddenly decide to shoot Bush. If Bush initiated the struggle, then perhaps Bush should have thought twice before assaulting a police officer. Perhaps there is an appetite for conspiracy here?

Rob W.

Stephen Rees said...

A conspiracy of one?

The police officer was alone with the prisoner. We just have his word for it. And no physical evidence to support his very unlikely tale - yet he is assumed to be blameless.

"Suddenly decide" probably not - discharge of weapon during a struggle more likely BUT the circumstances claimed by the officer highly improbable "worthy of a contortionist" and "unwilling to demonstrate" seem to support a harsher reading of his actions than justifiable. He is not being completely honest.

Add this to a series of events where the RCMP have over reacted and we have a serious issue which the force is not dealing with. So we must deal with the force. Ultimately the police must be responsible to the people and not be a law unto themselves.