Two Alberta Mounties face manslaughter charges in shooting death of man in car
Alberta's police watchdog investigated after a police-involved shooting ended with the death of a 31-year-old man near Whitecourt. July 2018.
EDMONTON -- Two RCMP officers who were charged in the shooting death of a 31-year old man in northern Alberta two years ago are now facing manslaughter charges.
Cpl. Randy Stenger and Const. Jessica Brown of the Whitecourt RCMP detachment were arrested on June 5 and were each charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death.
The court registry now says the officers are charged with manslaughter.
No one from Alberta Justice has returned a request for comment.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) says the charges against the pair were upgraded to manslaughter after consultation with investigators.
ASIRT has previously said that Clayton Crawford died from multiple gunshot wounds inside a car after a confrontation with police on July 3, 2018.
The Mounties had been investigating another shooting the day before at a home in Valhalla Centre, about 65 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie.
ASIRT said the officers were looking for a witness or possible victim in that case when they discovered a man sleeping in the driver's seat of a vehicle parked at a rest stop near Whitecourt.
During the confrontation, the vehicle was “put into motion” and one officer fired a service pistol while the other discharged a carbine rifle, the agency said.
“The vehicle left the rest stop, crossed the highway and entered a ditch a short distance away,” said a news release at the time.
ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson told a news conference on June 8 that Crown prosecutors were consulted for their opinion and her team determined charges were warranted.
Hughson said it was the first time in the Alberta agency's history that a police-involved shooting resulting in a death led to criminal charges against officers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.