A police officer who opened fire on a taxi in White Rock one year ago Thursday (Jan. 29) essentially acted in self-defence, according to court documents.
The response to taxi driver Rashid Ahmad’s civil claim – originally filed in B.C. Supreme Court last July against the RCMP (attorney general of Canada), the attorney general of B.C. and two unnamed White Rock RCMP constables (John Doe and Jane Doe) – was filed on Jan. 5.
While Ahmad had alleged the incident – which occurred around noon on Jan. 29, 2014, near the Peace Arch Hospital in the 1500-block of Finlay Street – was the result of negligence on the part of the two officers, the defendants say the officer who fired did so after being struck by the taxi.
The impact occurred after the officer stopped his vehicle in front of the taxi, “pressed the button to activate emergency lights on his vehicle, exited, drew his firearm, walked in front of the taxi and shouted “Stop, police! Stop, police!”
The response notes the officer was trying to stop the taxi in order to arrest its passengers, who had been picked up from a home that had been under surveillance as part of a special investigation into drug trafficking.
Ahmad said at the time that he was en route to the CIBC at 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, he said.
The response, however, claims Ahmad “did not stop the taxi and instead accelerated and struck the RCMP officer, who fell onto the hood of the taxi cab.”
“The plaintiff continued to drive northbound on Finlay Street with the RCMP officer on the hood, and at that point, the RCMP officer who was on the hood of the taxi discharged his firearm. The plaintiff then stopped the taxi cab and the RCMP officer fell off of the vehicle.
“The plaintiff was then taken out of the taxi cab, put to the ground and handcuffed.”
The driver was released moments later.
Ahmad described injuries including a laceration to his left cheek, left temple pain with numbness, left elbow and rib-cage pain, and a bleeding nose and mouth. He is seeking costs of past and future health care, general damages, past/future loss of income and special damages.
The defendants’ response suggests if injuries were suffered, negligence on Ahmad’s part – including failing to follow the instructions of a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer – played a role.
The officers involved were “at all times acting within the performance of their duties as peace officers and as members of the RCMP… and in the exercise of their powers as provincial constables,” the response states.
An independent investigation into the incident by Coquitlam RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit – the results of which were shared with Peace Arch News last month – did not recommend charges against any of the parties involved.
Ahmad’s lawyer, Deepak Gautam, said Tuesday that he is preparing to ask the court to order that he be given a copy of that file.
No court date has yet been set to hear the case, Gautam said.