Top Mountie testifies at RCMP Labour Code trial in Moncton shootings

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RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is testifying today at the national police force’s Labour Code trial in connection with the shooting deaths of three Mounties and wounding of two others in Moncton, N.B., in 2014.

Paulson is the defence’s last witness at the trial, which began in Moncton in April.

His testimony comes just two weeks before he plans to retire, after 39 years of service, including 32 for the RCMP and the last five as the top Mountie.

The RCMP is accused of failing to protect its members during Justin Bourque’s shooting rampage in a residential area of Moncton’s north end on June 4, 2014.

The national police force is charged with violating four Labour Code provisions. It’s alleged the force failed to provide members with appropriate use-of-force equipment and training for responding to an active threat or active shooting event, and failed to ensure the health and safety of every person in the force.​​

Paulson has previously said RCMP members have access to the tools they need.

Need for ‘precise policies’ on carbine use

He has also suggested the adoption of carbine rifles for front-line officers had to be measured following the 2007 Taser death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport.

Carbines are semi-automatic, short-barrelled rifles that have a longer and more accurate range than pistols or shotguns.

“We knew the addition of another deadly force option, at a time when we were being condemned for our Conducted Electrical Weapon … would require a careful and formal analysis of the need for the carbine, together with the creation of precise policies on its use, its distribution and training,” Paulson stated in an internal email in 2014 that was obtained and published by MacLean’s magazine.

Mounties are now equipped with carbines, but based on his testimony to a committee of senators earlier this year, Paulson has reservations about “the trend in policing for escalating military-style tools.”

“The carbine issue, very electric, very emotive discussions go around the carbine,” he has said.

“The use of our tanks, because we have all that equipment — we got tanks, we got drones, we got machine guns. But you know are we going to be going into shoplifters with a carbine?”

Trial focused on lack of carbines

rcmp shooting barricade

The trial has focused on the lack of carbines in the response to the June 4, 2014, shooting spree in Moncton. (Marc Grandmaison/Canadian Press)

The use of carbines — and why the Mounties didn’t have them — has been at the centre of the trial.

Bourque was carrying an M305.308 semi-automatic rifle and a Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun during the shootings. The RCMP officers who responded were armed with their duty pistols.

Previous witnesses have suggested some of the deaths could have been prevented if the officers had been better armed.

The court has heard about six internal RCMP reports — all done after the 2005 murder of four Mounties in Mayerthopre, Alta. — that recommended police be armed with carbines.

Bourque is serving five life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

See the article here – 

Top Mountie testifies at RCMP Labour Code trial in Moncton shootings

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