Saskatchewan’s chief forensic pathologist was unable to determine whether a man involved in a police pursuit died in a crash or from multiple blows from Saskatoon police, an inquest heard Monday.
The hearing examining the death of Jordan Lafond, 21, opened with testimony from Det. Sgt. Kory Ochitwa, who was the most recent head of the internal investigation into the death.
According to Ochitwa, a low-resolution police car video played during the inquest shows an officer make a kicking motion and Lafond’s body moving in response.
The act is followed by a possible kneeing movement, he testified.
In his notes, acting Sgt. Thomas Gresty acknowledged he delivered multiple knee strikes to Lafond, whose autopsy revealed significant head trauma.
Several days passed between Lafond’s death and his autopsy, the five-woman and one-man jury heard.
The 21-year-old’s body had already been embalmed and pathologists couldn’t determine what caused the head injury.
Lafond was a passenger in a stolen truck being pursued by Saskatoon police on Oct. 23, 2016. It crashed near Bethlehem Catholic High School.
During their investigation, Ochitwa stated police had “grounds to suspect” Const. Kelly Olafson used more force than he initially disclosed.
The in-car video revealed officers told Lafond to show his hands and stop resisting at the scene of the crash.
Four moans could be heard on the video, which Ochitwa said he believed to be coming from Lafond.
The driver of the vehicle, Reece Terrance Fiddler, also could have been the one making the noises, Ochitwa said.
The inquest also found two officers violated Saskatoon Police Service policy and viewed the in-car video before giving statements on the matter.
The inquest is scheduled to last five days and hear testimony from at least 18 witnesses.