Trial hears Manitoba Mountie made disastrous tactical decision before shooting

THOMPSON, Man. — An expert in police use of force testified an RCMP officer in northern Manitoba made a disastrous tactical decision to step in front a vehicle before he shot the driver.

Const. Abram Letkeman is on trial for the 2015 death of Steven Campbell, who was behind the wheel of a Jeep that the officer had tried to pull over for erratic driving.

At the time of the shooting, police said the Jeep came to a stop after a brief chase and when Letkeman approached the vehicle, it suddenly accelerated and hit the officer, prompting him to fire.

Christopher Butler, a retired Calgary police inspector, told court it was a major error for the officer to step in front of the Jeep and Letkeman put himself in jeopardy.

But Butler says if the vehicle moved toward the officer and the officer believed he could die, firing his gun would be consistent with RCMP policy.

The trial previously heard Campbell was shot at least nine times and his girlfriend was also injured on one side of her head.

© 2019 The Canadian Press