Family of Manitoba man shot by police says officer should have used other methods

Click to play video: 'Thompson RCMP shooting'
Thompson RCMP shooting
A young man walks towards a Thompson RCMP officer before he is shot. This video has been edited to remove graphic content – Oct 28, 2021

The family of a man shot by Manitoba RCMP in Thompson on Monday says they’re traumatized and looking for answers.

Kikiwani Mikisew Iskwew said the police officer did not need to shoot her brother and instead could have handled the encounter differently.

“The RCMP officer could’ve used non-violent intervention strategies to de-escalate the situation by remaining calm and by using his voice,” she said in a Facebook live on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but was in stable condition, according to a Tuesday release from the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU).

The IIU is currently investigating the incident.

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Less than a week after the incident, RCMP announced charges against the man they say had been shot by an officer.

In release Nov. 2 Thompson RCMP said Raymond Michelle, 30, had been arrested Oct. 31 “in relation to the officer-involved shooting incident and threats made towards community members on October 25, 2021.”

They said Michelle was arrested at  business in Thompson sometime after his release from hospital.

Michelle is charged with assaulting an officer with a weapon, two counts of assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Captured on video

The shooting was captured on cellphone video and shared widely on social media.

The video shows a man in a red sweater walking towards a police officer who is continuously backing up through a yard.

After several seconds, gunfire can be heard and the man is seen bending over, before he falls to the ground.

RCMP said Monday that the officer was there to serve legal documents when he ran into a man armed with a knife. They later said a knife was recovered at the scene.

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Iskwew doesn’t believe her brother, whom she refers to as “Little Ray,” was carrying a knife.

“After reviewing the video, we see no evidence of a weapon in Little Ray’s possession,” Iskwew said.

She does not want her brother, who is a father of five, to be judged by the state he was in at the time.

“Ray is only human and like all humans we all make mistakes,” she said.

In a statement, Iskwew says her brother needed surgery, and on Wednesday was “experiencing pain, having difficulty breathing, and he is receiving oxygen.”

Assistant Commissioner of Manitoba RCMP Jane MacLatchy defended the officer in a statement posted to the service’s Twitter page and later sent to media Thursday.

“I can tell you that the veteran officer involved is a capable and caring police officer who has spent his entire career working to keep the people of Manitoba safe,” the statement reads.

MacLatchy added the IIU should be allowed to carry-out their investigation.

“In these types of situations, we must let the investigative process take place,” MacLatchy said. “Above all, my primary concern is that the incident in question is investigated thoroughly and professionally.

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“This is the best course of action for the involved officer and for the male who was injured.”

Since the investigation is ongoing, RCMP and the IIU have each said they will not be providing further details.

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