Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 19:06:46 -0500
From: Lynne Moss-Sharman <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: RCMP shot man in back, Saskatchewan

RCMP dealt race card
Shooting victim accuses police of racism, says he feared for his life

        By Dan Zakreski and Les Perreaux
        Saskatoon Star Phoenix  11/30/99

An RCMP officer shot Rennie Anthony Norton in the back Friday night as the 43-year-old 
Native, fearing police brutality, tried to flee a roadside confrontation with police, 
defence lawyer Dwayne Roth said Monday.  Roth says Norton's shooting smacks of racism 
and he called for an independent inquiry into the incident. The RCMP responded in a 
statement Monday, an unusual move while a case is still before the courts.

Cpl. Jerry Wilde said race played no role in the shooting. He said the officer fired 
when a male suspect drove a vehicle toward him and the suspect's wife. "The member 
involved felt his life and the life of the accused's wife were in immediate danger and 
he discharged his firearm to end the threat," Wilde said late Monday afternoon.

Norton appeared in provincial court Monday charged with two counts of aggravated 
assault, one count of assault and one count of assault with a weapon. He returns to 
court this morning for a bail hearing. The incident began Friday evening as the RCMP 
officer was responding to a domestic dispute between a man and a woman three 
kilometres east of Lanigan, which is 160 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

Roth said Norton, of the Muskowekwan reserve near Lestock, told him the confrontation 
started shortly after someone at a Lanigan gas station overheard him and his wife, 
Lucy, arguing at a pay phone. The couple were returning home from Saskatoon and were 
pulled over by police shortly after they left the service station. Norton's wife was 
driving, and he had not been drinking, Roth said. Lucy Norton complied with a request 
to step out of the vehicle, Roth said. The situation quickly deteriorated. "My client, 
who claims to have been beaten up by RCMP officers several times in the past, was very 
fearful that would occur again if he was taken into custody. He became agitated by the 
situation. He got out of his vehicle and approached the police officer, the police 
officer asked him to get back into his vehicle," Roth said. "When my client didn't do 
that, the police officer used pepper spray on my client and his wife, apparently she 
got some in her mouth as well. He proceeded to back!
o his truck and got in on the driver's side and attempted to flee the scene. He had 
not been arrested yet, he had not been told he was being taken into custody for 
questioning. When he left the scene, he accidentally bumped into the parked patrol 

The officer shot at the vehicle several times with his service revolver, Roth 
said."One of the bullets entered through the rear of the vehicle, entering through 
perhaps the rear window  which had been smashed, and my client ended up being shot in 
the back, right between the shoulder blades," he said.  "He then proceeded into the 
ditch and hit a hay bale and came to rest there. After several moments, he got out of 
the vehicle. The police officer indicated to him that he was to get onto the ground. 
The police officer                   didn't apprehend him at that moment, he waited 
for backup."

Norton was taken by ambulance to Royal University Hospital and released into police 
custody. According to the RCMP, pepper spray was used on the suspect but had no effect 
on him. Wilde said the details of the incident have not been completely uncovered and 
will come out in court later. "The fact is that the vehicle was coming toward the 
police officer and the person's spouse and he felt his life and the life of the lady 
were in danger. He took appropriate action," Wilde said.  Wilde said the RCMP will 
continue investigating and an internal review will take place to determine if proper 
procedure was followed. He said the RCMP decided to make a statement Monday because of 
"inaccurate information in the public."

Roth said the case reminds him of a notorious shooting in Winnipeg a decade ago. "This 
reminds me certainly of the J.J. Harper shooting in Manitoba that led to the Manitoba 
aboriginal justice inquiry," he said. Harper, a respected Native leader, was shot and 
killed                   by Winnipeg police. They were searching for a teenaged car 
thief when they encountered Harper, on his way home after an evening out. Harper 
refused to stop and identify himself. A struggle followed that ended with Harper dead 
on the ground. Police had said he tried to grab the gun and it went off. Roth is 
calling for an independent review of the Norton incident, saying the Manitoba inquiry 
demonstrated the need for an arm's length review.

               "Let Us Consider The Human Brain As
                A Very Complex Photographic Plate"
                     1957 G.H. Estabrooks

                    FOR   K A R E N  #01182
                   who died fighting  4/23/99

                   [EMAIL PROTECTED]

    For people like me, violence is the minotaur; we spend our lives
        wandering its maze, looking for the exit.  (Richard Rhodes)
                   Never befriend the oppressed 
                    unless you are prepared to 
                    take on the oppressor.   
                        (Author unknown)

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