REGINA – The parents of a Saskatchewan man shot and killed by a Mountie two years ago hope a public inquest will help prevent similar incidents in the future.
Gerald Lord, 42, died at his Holdfast, Sask., home on September 11, 2013, after RCMP responded to reports of a disturbance. According to the police force, there was a “physical altercation” between a man and an officer, who shot him.
Ultimately his death was ruled non-culpable homicide – in other words, the officer’s actions were justified.
Global News learned this week the inquest, led by the chief coroner, will be held March 7-11 at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina. The ministry of justice confirmed the date Thursday.
When reached at their Collingwood, Ont., home on Thursday, the man’s parents called news of the inquest a “relief.”
“If the judge hears all of what happened as far as Gerry’s death and it can prevent anything like this happening to another family, we have that to be greatful for,” said Barbara Lord.
According to Barbara and her husband, Rick Lord, it’s unknown at this time if the officer involved in the shooting will part of the court proceedings.
The goal of public inquests is to determine if anything could have been done to prevent the death and provide policy recommendations for the future.
Following Gerald’s death, the Lords say they were in the dark for a year and a half – only told that their son had been killed at the hands of an officer. They say they had no idea what actually led up to his death, and there was little communication from the RCMP in Saskatchewan.
“The mystery behind the whole thing should not be.”
In a two-part series in September 2013, Global News tracked down the Lords, who decided to share their story in hopes of shedding light on the darkness that is police investigating police.
“We called several times, and (were given) the same story,” Rick said at the time. “It’s an (ongoing) investigation, we can’t tell you anything.”
Eighteen months later, the Lords say the RCMP provided a version of what happened the night Gerald was shot. They say they were told a lone officer was responding to a disturbance, that a struggle ensued when he attempted to arrest Gerald, and that he tried and failed to use his Taser to subdue him.
They were told the officer ended up shooting Gerald four times, killing him instantly.
The RCMP and the Regina Police Service, which observed the subsequent investigation, went silent. They still won’t provide names or any account of what happened, though the officer was ultimately found to have been justified in his actions.
Rick and Barbara Lord say they hope Saskatchewan would establish an independent, arms-length agency to act as a police watchdogs, similar to organizations in five other provinces.
“The mystery behind the whole thing should not be.”Follow @mikemckinnon
© 2016 Shaw Media