Review finds RCMP officers ‘justified’ in shooting Kinngait man
Federal prosecution service clears two officers of wrongdoing in October 2021 shooting
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada has concluded that two RCMP officers who shot a man in Kinngait during an incident more than a year ago were justified in their actions.
Earlier this month, the prosecution service released its review of the RCMP’s report into the non-fatal shooting by two RCMP officers in Kinngait that occurred Oct. 15, 2021.
The RCMP’s National Division conducted an independent investigation of the shooting. Its findings were referred to the prosecution service for review.
The shooting resulted in an injury to a 30-year-old man. The prosecution service declined to identify the suspect in its release.
However, Nunatsiaq News previously reported that Pabina Petaulassie, who was 30 years old at the time, was arrested Oct. 15, 2021, and charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possessing a weapon while being prohibited to do so, pointing a firearm, and two counts of careless use of a firearm.
RCMP initially misidentified Petaulassie with a different first name. Records obtained by Nunatsiaq News from the Nunavut Court of Justice show Petaulassie was also misidentified on official court documents.
During the incident in 2021, police responded to reports of shots fired outside the RCMP detachment office and people in Kinngait were told to shelter in place.
The prosecution service determined “the evidence indicated that the officers involved, along with other RCMP officers and members of the public, faced an immediate and dangerous threat,” the report said.
The individual had reportedly pointed a firearm at a school bus filled with children, at the RCMP detachment, and then at RCMP officers.
“The officers feared that the individual would return into the residential community with the rifle. In these circumstances, it was reasonable and legally justified for the officers to discharge their firearms for their own and others’ protection,” the report said.
The prosecution service concluded that the shooting was justified under section 25 of the Criminal Code, which allows the use of force by police officers in certain circumstances.
That use of force, such as the discharge of a firearm, requires a police officer to have reasonable grounds to believe the force is necessary “for their own protection or the protection of others, including members of the public, from death or grievous bodily harm,” the report said.
As a result, the prosecution service concluded there are no grounds to believe the two officers involved in the shooting committed a criminal offence.
On Dec. 14, 2021, Petaulassie pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a firearm while prohibited from doing so, and pointing a firearm, said prosecution service spokesperson Nathalie Houle. The two remaining charges were withdrawn.
Petaulassie was sentenced to 18 months in jail, as well as 24 months’ probation and a firearm prohibition.