DUNCAN, B.C. – An RCMP officer has been found guilty of aggravated assault for shooting a man in the shoulder during a traffic stop on Vancouver Island.
Const. David Pompeo had testified that William Gillespie emerged from his vehicle in a zombie-like state on Sept. 18, 2000.
Pompeo said he wasn’t sure if the man was high on drugs, planning to attack or thinking nothing at all before he shot him.
The trial heard last summer that Pompeo and his partner were driving an unmarked pickup truck when they pulled Gillespie over for suspicion of driving while prohibited.
Gillespie praised the judge’s ruling on Thursday.
“I’m very pleased that the judge did not believe Const. Pompeo’s version of the events of Sept. 18, 2009, and that his life was never in any real danger behind his steel door and his bullet-proof vest on,” he said outside court.
“Now I don’t think there will be a shoot-first policy. People across Canada should be pleased that the courts are not going to look the other way on police use of excessive force and trigger-happy police officers.”
RCMP officials who were at provincial court in Duncan, B.C., for the decision said they will be reviewing Judge Josiah Wood’s ruling before making any comment.
The court heard that after seeing the lights of Pompeo’s ghost car, Gillespie pulled his sedan into a friend’s Chemainus, B.C., driveway and stopped with a skid.
Pompeo told court during the trial that Gillespie got out of his vehicle without being told to do so and made blatant movements and gestures, making him believe the man was armed.
The officer testified Gillespie ignored his commands at gunpoint, but Gillespie said he was ordered out of the car and complied fully with Pompeo’s instructions.
“He was blatantly ignoring my commands to comply while he was advancing at gunpoint,” Pompeo told the trial. “I was under the impression that he was retrieving the means with which to cause me bodily harm, or worse.” (CJSU)