Trial continues for accused RCMP officers after man was shot 10 times


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A Grande Prairie RCMP drug investigator spoke on Wednesday in the case of two co-workers charged with manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of a man in Whitecourt.

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Cpl. Eldon Chillog testified for the Crown on the third day of the trial of Const. Jessica Brown and Cpl. Randy Stenger, charged with using excessive force when they shot Clayton Crawford 10 times during an attempted arrest at a rest area near Whitecourt on July 3, 2018.

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Chillog, a 22-year-old veteran of the force, was at the Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment the day before when it became known that a shooting had taken place in the nearby hamlet of Valhalla Centre.

Chillog testified that he was familiar with the property where the shooting occurred, which had a reputation in the small community. Jurors heard Crawford’s girlfriend was shot in the leg when two assailants fired through the door of the house, and Crawford, 31, later fled the scene.

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Crawford was known to drive a distinctive Dodge Dakota pickup of an older model that was purple and had the words “plum crazy” stenciled on it. Chillog said that through his work in the drug section, he believed Crawford was being targeted because he stole drugs or money from a man named Lenny.

Chillog said that at some point a decision was made to include a description of Crawford’s truck on a BOLO (be on the lookout) notice for suspect vehicles.

“At that point, we wanted to know what happened,” Chillog said. “Why was someone shooting Clayton, why did it happen today. We wanted to know his side of that story.

Another officer, const. Joel Durling, spotted the purple truck while off duty the next day at the Chickadee Creek Rest Area, located on Highway 43 near Whitecourt.

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On the day the trial opened on Monday, attorneys for Brown and Stenger said Crawford was wanted on warrant, had previously been arrested for discharging a firearm and was known to be involved in drug trafficking. Defense attorney Robb Beeman, who represents Brown, said Crawford was sleeping when officers found him and a struggle ensued in which Crawford narrowly missed hitting his client with his truck.

Beeman said Brown fired because she feared for her life and the lives of her fellow officers.

Crown prosecutor Linda Shin, however, said the force used by officers was “unnecessary and unreasonable”. Officers also face charges of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent to cause bodily harm. They were initially charged with criminal negligence causing death.

The trial is scheduled to last 15 days and is heard by Judge Kent Davidson of the Court of King’s Bench.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Cpl. Randy Stenger’s name.

jwakefield@postmedia.com

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