“Officers should not shoot at motor vehicles, jury recommends”

A coroners jury released its report Thursday on the death of Duane Christian, 15, who was shot by a police officer in Scarborough on June 20th, 2006.  Christian was driving a stolen van at the time, but was unarmed.  The officer claimed, and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) agreed, that the shooting was justified in order to prevent his partner from being hit by the van and killed (notably, a witness recently disputed the officers’ testimony).  The coroner’s jury made a number of sensible recommendations (Toronto Star),the  most interesting being the first:

1. The Province of Ontario should study the possibility of enacting the amended Toronto Police Service policy 15-01: Members may not discharge a firearm at a vehicle for the purpose of disabling the vehicle. Police officers may not discharge a firearm at the operator or the occupants of a motor vehicle unless there exists an immediate threat of death or grievous bodily harm to an officer or to a member of the public by means other than the vehicle.

The words “by means other than the vehicle” are the sticking point, and predictably enough, the police union isn’t pleased.  The full report does not appear to be posted online, however if I find it I will post an update.