Canadian policeman on trial for assault of officer who shot him

Sergeant who fired gun several times tells Ontario court ‘it was either me or him’

Constable Nathan Parker (55) of the Niagara regional police, stands accused of assault with a weapon, intent to resist arrest and assaulting a police officer after allegedly attacking Detective Sergeant Shane Donovan. Photograph: Marc Dufresne/iStock

Constable Nathan Parker (55) of the Niagara regional police, stands accused of assault with a weapon, intent to resist arrest and assaulting a police officer after allegedly attacking Detective Sergeant Shane Donovan. Photograph: Marc Dufresne/iStock

 

A Canadian police officer who was shot nine times by a colleague is now on trial for assault over the confrontation that began over a bathroom break.

Constable Nathan Parker (55) of the Niagara regional police, stands accused of assault with a weapon, intent to resist arrest and assaulting a police officer after allegedly attacking Detective Sergeant Shane Donovan.

On Tuesday, Det Sgt Donovan told an Ontario court that he barely knew Constable Parker when the two worked on a collision reconstruction scene in rural Ontario in November 2018. Det Sgt Donovan was leading the operation when he assigned Constable Parker to stop residents from using the road.

The court heard that Constable Parker left the scene and became defensive when Det Sgt Donovan asked him to remain. Constable Parker said he had to leave to use the bathroom.

“You’re talking to a sergeant,” Det Sgt Donovan told him, he said.

But the confrontation escalated when Constable Parker got out of his vehicle and shoved Det Sgt Donovan, the court heard.

“You’re under arrest for assault,” Det Sgt Donovan told Constable Parker.

Det Sgt Donovan told the court that Constable Parker continued towards him, throwing a “haymaker” punch, and hitting him.

The sergeant said that he put up his hands in surrender and went back to his vehicle. But he was punched again by Constable Parker, who then drew his police-issued baton.

Fearing that a strike to the head could be fatal, Det Sgt Donovan drew his gun.

“Oh, you want to do this?” said Constable Parker who unholstered his own weapon.

“I knew if he got the firearm up on me, then he would kill me – and it was either me or him,” Det Sgt Donovan said. “So I fired my gun until he dropped his gun.”

Investigators recovered 10 shell casings at the scene.

“My belief was that my life was in danger,” said Det Sgt Donovan. “He’s already attacked me, hit me three or four times.”

Det Sgt Donovan told the court that his experience with Constable Parker was the first time he had ever drawn his gun.

A medical examination found four gunshot wounds on Constable Parker’s left calf, his lower abdomen, his left hip, and the back of his right foot. He also had wounds through his nose and cheek, as well as his left shoulder and upper thigh.

Ontario’s special investigations unit, which investigates shootings involving police officers, initially laid charges against Det Sgt Donovan, including attempted murder, but the charges were later dropped.

Det Sgt Donovan will continue his testimony on Wednesday in the judge-only trial. – Guardian