More than 10 months after a plain-clothed officer opened fire on a taxi in White Rock, RCMP officials confirm an independent investigation does not recommend charges.
“The file and all investigative findings have been carefully reviewed internally… looking at all the circumstances, including policy, procedures and training,” Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said last week. “No charges have been recommended against any of the involved parties.”
Citing an ongoing civil claim, Vermeulen said police are “somewhat restricted in what we can say” about the Jan. 29 incident.
It occurred around noon near Peace Arch Hospital, in the 1500-block of Finlay Street.
Taxi driver Rashid Ahmad said at the time that he was en route to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre with two passengers – one of them an elderly woman – when he was cut off by an unmarked car. A shabbily dressed man got out of the car, drew a gun on the taxi and fired.
Ahmad said he was then pulled out of the car, kicked in the ribs, handcuffed – and released within minutes.
Police have yet to comment on Ahmad’s version of events. A statement of defence to Ahmad’s civil claim has not yet been filed.
According to the civil claim – filed in B.C. Supreme Court July 8 against the RCMP, the attorney general of B.C. and two unnamed White Rock RCMP constables (John Doe and Jane Doe) – the incident was the result of negligence on the part of two officers.
They failed “to exercise the proper or any duty of care,” failed to follow procedures for use of a firearm in public, and their conduct “constituted an assault and battery as well as unlawful imprisonment,” the claim states.
Police at the time said the takedown was part of an investigation into “a known crack-shack.”
According to the claim, Ahmad picked up his passengers from an address on Stevens Street, and was at the intersection of Finlay Street and Russell Avenue when an unmarked car sped past him.
As Ahmad drove through the intersection “the unmarked police car stopped without warning… in front of the Plaintiff’s taxi and John Doe exited the unmarked police vehicle in an aggressive fashion with his weapon drawn and shot at the Plaintiff without warning,” the claim states.
“Immediately thereafter John Doe and Jane Doe smashed the driver’s side window of the Plaintiff’s taxi, dragged him out from the window and threw him on the street where he was assaulted by John Doe and Jane Doe resulting in the Plaintiff suffering injury, loss, damage and expense.”
Ahmad’s injuries included a laceration to his left cheek, left temple pain with numbness, left elbow and rib-cage pain, and a bleeding nose and mouth, the claim states.
He seeks health-care costs, general damages, loss of income and special damages.