Inquest into police shooting death of Brydon Whitstone starts in Battleford
The coroner’s inquest into the death of Brydon Whitstone started Monday at Battleford’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
Whitstone, 22, of Onion Lake, Sask., was fatally shot by an RCMP officer following a brief pursuit in North Battleford on Oct. 21, 2017.
After a six-person jury was selected Monday morning, RCMP Sgt. Rob Zentner with the Major Crimes Unit was the first to testify.
Zentner explained RCMP started a 20- to 30-second pursuit with the car Whitstone was driving.
During the chase, Zentner said Whitstone rammed two police vehicles and then became trapped by police vehicles, while continuing to rev his engine in an effort to escape.
Court heard RCMP members approached the car, smashed out the windows and gave verbal commands to Whitstone and his female passenger.
Zentner said Whitstone ignored the officers and reached down to his pocket. That’s when an RCMP officer near the driver’s side of the car fired his gun, hitting Whitstone twice in the chest.
According to Zentner, there was a sock found in Whitstone’s pocket with 13 live .22-calibre rounds, but court heard no firearms were found in the car he was driving.
Sgt. Pierre Beauchesne with the Regina Police Service (RPS) explained that an autopsy found another live round of ammunition in Whitstone’s stomach, which he apparently ingested.
No criminal charges were laid following an independent external investigation by RPS.
The purpose of the inquest is to determine the medical cause and manner of Whitstone’s death. The jury can also make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
The inquest is expected to last all week, as 18 witnesses are listed to testify, including the woman who was the passenger in the car the night Whitstone was killed, as well as the RCMP officer who fired the gun.
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