Officers seen ducking for cover in dashcam video viewed at inquest into 2015 police shooting
Published Monday, September 17, 2018 6:08PM EDT Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2018 7:13PM EDT
Dash camera footage presented at an inquest into the fatal police shooting of a man wanted for double-murder in 2015 showed police officers and pedestrians scrambling for cover as shots were fired in the entertainment district.
The incident occurred around 3 a.m. on July 25, 2015. According to the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Toronto police were preparing to arrest Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21, who was wanted for first-degree murder in connection with two shooting deaths in Toronto, when there was "some type of altercation between the officers and the man, and the man was shot."
In the video, officers are seen surrounding a car in an ally outside a nightclub near Peter Street and Adelaide Street West. Gunshots ring out, prompting two police officers to jump off their bicycles and duck for cover behind a car and a building. Pedestrians can be seen fleeing the area as the words “shots fired” are heard over the police radio system.
It is unclear from the video who fired the shots.
In the video, Skene-Peters can then be seen trying to flee, but tripping right in front of a police vehicle.
He suffered a gunshot wound to the chest during the incident.
Paramedics were called and he was taken to St. Michaels Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The SIU, an arm's-length agency that investigates death, serious injury and sexual assault cases where police are involved, was called in. In June 2016, the agency concluded that the police officers involved in the shooting were “legally justified” in their actions and cleared them of criminal wrongdoing.
Monday marks the first day of an inquest into the shooting. The jury learned that 31 shots were fired during the altercation and that seven came from the car Skene-Peters was inside.
Skene-Peters’ parents testified on Monday, saying their son was in and out of jail from the age of 13 and asked why officers would approach the vehicle if they believed there was a handgun inside.
“They should have taken him down before he went back to that gun. It only makes sense to me,” Skene-Peters’ mother said.
A jury will examine the events leading up to the fatal shooting and hear statements from about 25 witnesses.
The inquiry is expected to last eight days and is mandatory under the Coroners Act.