RED DEER, Alta.-An Alberta judge says there’s no evidence a Mountie was racially motivated when he shot and killed an aboriginal man nearly four years ago.
Provincial court Judge Albert Skinner made no recommendations in his fatality inquiry report into the death of 30-year-old Lance Cutarm.
He says Cpl. Kevin Krebs feared for his safety during a traffic stop and that the use of lethal force was reasonable.
The report describes how Cutarm and several other family members were intoxicated when they were pulled over near Ma-Me-O Beach in August 2013.
It says the officer was arresting Cutarm’s father for impaired driving when he and his two brothers moved toward officer and refused to stop.
Skinner says the family members had no weapons but were much larger than Krebs and had blocked him off from his cruiser.
The officer even freed Cutarm’s father and ran off but the brothers followed, said the report. The officer also attempted to use his pepper spray but tripped and dropped the canister.
He warned the brothers that he would shoot them if they continued. The officer then shot Cutarm twice in the torso and one of his brothers in the armpit.
“The relatives to Lance Cutarm alleged that the response by the officer to his perceived danger was racially motivated. There is no evidence to support this,” wrote Skinner.
He said the event was recorded and the officer made no racial slurs.
“Even at the heightened emotions of the officer to the danger he faced and his emphatic use of swear words to convey the seriousness of the situation to them, no racially charged words can be heard.”
The judge further found the testimony of Cutarm’s family contradictory and unreliable.
“This court finds the use of lethal force by Cpl. Krebs was reasonable in all of the circumstance in order to protect himself from imminent and serious harm.”
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an agency that reviews police-related shootings, earlier determined that the officer was justified and would not face charges.