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Inquest recommends police use non-lethal methods before drawing guns
Published Friday, December 7, 2018 7:01PM CST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2018 7:21PM CST
A six-person coroner’s inquest jury was unable to determine why Brydon Whitstone died after hearing testimony about what led up him being fatally shot by police.
However they did offer one recommendation on how similar deaths might be prevented.
Whitstone, 22, was shot Oct. 21, 2017 in an incident police who testified at the inquest described as “high risk” and “chaotic.”
An officer started following Whitstone’s car because he believed it was involved in a drive-by shooting. Instead of pulling over Whitstone fled eventually crashing into two police cruisers.
According to testimony during the inquest, police shouted at Whitstone, telling him to put his hands up, but he didn’t. Instead he reached for something in his pants. It was then that Cst. Jerry Abbott , believing Whitstone was reaching for a gun, shot him twice in the chest. One bullet caused near-immediate death.
The inquest did not hear any clear motives as to why Whitstone sped away. He was not involved in the reported shooting police were responding to. His mother believes it’s because he was in breach of his conditions.
The jury had six options: Whitstone’s death was either a suicide (whether the shooting was a reaction to what Whitstone did), homicide (whether he did something that would make police react in a way that would lead to his death), or undetermined.
After four days of testimony from more than a dozen witnesses, the jury couldn’t decide how Whitstone came to be fatally shot.
The jury did recommend that officers use non-lethal methods, such as a Taser, to immobilize uncooperative people before drawing guns.
An external investigation by Regina Police Services determined no charges should be laid.
Whitstone’s mother, Dorothy Laboucane, said the inquest doesn’t provide much closure and she will continue to fight for her son. They family wants the investigation re-opened by an independent investigative body.