A judge says a fatal shooting by Winnipeg police in 2019 was in response to a very real threat posed by a man armed with a hatchet.
An inquest report from Manitoba provincial court Judge Julie Frederickson says officers tried to use less lethal methods first, and fired shots only when Chad Williams moved to throw the hatchet at the officers.
Williams, who was 26, was shot in a vacant lot in Winnipeg on Jan. 11, 2019, after a short pursuit by police.
The inquest was told Williams stopped near a tall fence and was surrounded by officers in a half-circle.
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The judge says Williams was high on methamphetamine, ignored commands to drop the hatchet and was not deterred by police attempts to stop him with a stun gun.
The report says Williams raised the hatchet above his head in a motion to throw it, was shot, and died after being taken to hospital.
“The levels of force used by officers … to control and contain the threat posed by Mr. Williams was consistent with their training and appropriate in the circumstances,” Frederickson wrote.
“The use of lethal force was in response to the very real threat that Mr. Williams was about to throw the hatchet at officers.
“If the throw had been completed, it was foreseeable that one of the officers could have been struck and seriously injured.”
The judge made no recommendations in her report and noted that there was no delay by officers in calling an ambulance and seeking medical aid.
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