Peter de Groot was shot and killed by RCMP officers during a 2014 manhunt. File photo

UPDATED: 3-year wait for probe into police-involved fatal shooting ‘unacceptable’: B.C. RCMP

RCMP officers shot and killed the West Slocan resident after a manhunt

Two RCMP officers have been exonerated in the 2014 shooting death of Peter de Groot.

The 45-year-old West Slocan resident allegedly fired a shot at police on Oct. 9, 2014 when officers responded to an argument between De Groot and another person.

De Groot then fled into the bush, and three days after the initial encounter was shot and killed by an officer after De Groot allegedly drew his firearm while hiding in a remote cabin.

The ensuing investigation by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) took more than three years to complete and concluded with two officers being cleared of any wrongdoing Thursday. This means the case will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Investigations by the IIO, a civilian body independent of the police, are initiated whenever a police officer causes death or serious harm. The IIO report on the death of De Groot is attached below.

The purpose of the investigation in this case was to determine whether the officer who shot De Groot used excessive force.

During the investigation that officer, described only as Officer 1 in the report, declined to make a statement. Also, consistent with an agreement between the IIO and police forces in B.C., he was not compelled to turn over his notes, reports, or data.

There was one eye witness to the shooting, Officer 2, who gave a statement to investigators. Otherwise the investigation relied on a variety of forensic evidence and pathology reports.

Officer 2 said that when they suspected De Groot was in the cabin, he and Officer 1 approached it and each stood on one side of the door.

“Officer 1 stood to the left of the door with his rifle up,” the report states. “Officer 2 said that he opened and pushed the door inward. He said he then saw a rifle come up. He believed it was about 60 centimetres above the floor. Although Officer 2 could not see (De Groot) he believed that he was lying on the cabin floor.”

Then Officer 1 fired the shot that killed De Groot. It was the only shot fired during the incident at the cabin.

Related:

Much of the report details a succession of reports from four different pathologists and a biomedical engineer. The initial two pathologists concluded that De Groot had been shot in the back. This conflicted with the statement from Officer 2. So a series of more detailed pathology reports were commissioned — one of them by De Groot’s family — and a biomedical engineer was hired.

Eventually it was concluded that the bullet travelled through De Groot’s body from front to back, which was consistent with Officer 2’s statement to investigators.

“Had Officer 1 shot (De Groot) in the back he may have committed murder,” the report states. “Had Officer 2 lied to investigators he may have committed obstruction of justice.”

The report states that solving this inconsistency was the main reason for the delay in the investigation, and the report calls the delay “unfortunate.” RCMP deputy commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr was unsympathetic, however.

“While the B.C. RCMP appreciates the challenges of complex investigations and evidence collection, the protracted nature of this investigation is unacceptable,” she said in a teleconference with the media Thursday.

“This was a dynamic series of events that have forever changed the police officers involved, a community, and a family that lost a loved one. The techniques used and the resulting time delays in determining the circumstances compounded the trauma and severely limited the ability of many to move forward.”

Don Sorochan, the De Groot family’s lawyer, said the family will wait until the middle of next week to make a public statement about the decision.

This story was changed on April 5 by the addition of the word “allegedly” to paragraph two.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

De Groot IIO Report by BillMetcalfe on Scribd

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP say busts and arrests will have an impact on organized crime

Over $350,000 worth of drugs seized by police after busts in Nanaimo, Vancouver and Richmond

Nanaimo byelection candidates outline their priorities

Candidates provide their reasons for running and their priorities, in their own words

Investigation ongoing after hit-and-run in downtown Nanaimo leaves woman injured

Police say a Toyota Camry found abandoned on Cliff Street in Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Respect ferry etiquette

Letter writer suggests that we consider the ferry terminal and the ferry itself as a ‘village’

Western Edge Theatre presents ‘Between the Sheets’ at Harbour City Theatre

Canadian play centres on an intense parent-teacher interview

Nanaimo byelection candidates get their first chance to debate

NDP, B.C. Liberals, Greens participated in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate Monday

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

Most Read