Why Not Manslaughter?

Today’s post is about the killing of a man by a police officer, apparently by accident.

First, a tiny childish rant on my part. Today’s hotlink will be to the Metro newspaper. The Toronto Star now forces me to use their eReader, to which I have legal access via a print subscriptions. However, I can’t give you a hotlink to the content.
The MetroNews (an on-subway, in-mall free paper) has the same content, often, and is open.

Now for the story. Here are some quotes, not in order:

Payne said he told a distressed Cavanagh that the accidental shot could have happened to anyone on the team. So the claim is, accidental shooting. One shot from a sub-machine gun.

Osawe was shot once in the back at close range by the weapon carried by Const. David Cavanagh, a fatal shooting that an Ontario court judge later deemed accidental.

The constable involved, David Cavanagh, was not near the victim. He was across the room.

Bozzer said he saw Osawe’s left hand sliding under a dresser and thought he might be reaching for a gun. Bozzer then kicked Osawe’s shoulder and pinned his left knee on Osawe to secure him, as he continued to resist calls to put his hands on his back, he testified.

At that moment, with Cavanagh behind him, Bozzer heard the gunshot. The entire struggle happened in a matter of seconds, he said.

Osawe was shot in the back while pinned down. It was deemed that the discharge of the submachine gun firearm was accidental.

Now for the dumb questions.

  • If I accidentally shot a dog, would I not be charged with discharging a firearm illegally?
  • If I accidentally ran over a police officer, would I not be charged with manslaughter?
  • Do we accept the gradual shifting of law enforcement, including our ever more empowered spy chiefs, toward a police state?
  • If I were to comment that carding has been stopped, without being stopped, would that lead you to suspect that Toronto has a police chief independent of civil control?
  • Is there a separate set of law and law enforcement for police officers?

I might note that the accidental discharge of the firearm happened to hit the victim in the spine. It did not go into the floor or ceiling. Does aiming constitute intent?

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