No charges for officer who fatally shot man struggling with mental health: police watchdog
Machuar Madut. (Source: Beth Macdonell/CTV News)
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's police watchdog has said no charges should be laid against a Winnipeg police officer who shot and killed a man who was allegedly threatening officers with a hammer.
The officer-involved shooting death of 43-year-old Machuar Madut happened on the morning of Feb. 23, 2019, at an apartment block on Colony Street. CTV News has previously reported Madut was a father of three, who had been struggling with mental health issues at the time of his death.
A civilian witness who was related to Madut told the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba the man was paranoid, believed people were following him, and people on the TV were talking to him.
According to the IIU, police were called to the area for reports of a man armed with a hammer who was breaking into suites. Two officers spoke with residents, before finding the suspect and chasing him into an apartment.
The IIU said there was a struggle between the two officers and the suspect. The officers tried using Tasers, which had no effect. After one officer was punched in the head, the suspect allegedly grabbed a hammer and began swinging it at the officers, and said he would use it on them.
Winnipeg police at an apartment on Colony Street on Feb. 23, 2019. (Source: Beth Macdonell/ CTV News Winnipeg)
When the suspect held the hammer above his head, one officer fired his gun three times, fatally wounding the man.
He was taken to hospital in critical condition where he was pronounced dead.
In a news release at the time of Madut's death, Martino Laku, president of the Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba Inc. said the man came to Canada in 2003 after being in a Kenyan refugee camp.
Laku said Madut and his wife separated and she moved to British Columbia with his three children.
“Madut is remembered as a quiet, polite, industrious, friendly and family person. He has been struggling recently with mental health issues which resulted from his separation from his children and family,” Laku said in the release.
The release then went on to condemn what happened, calling for answers on why police used lethal force on a 'sick and non-violent' person like Madut.
Investigators with the Independent Investigation Unit were sent to the scene on Colony Street, which was blocked off with police tape. (Source: Beth Macdonell/CTV News Winnipeg)
A toxicology report from the RCMP, which the IIU said took 260 days to be shared with the watchdog, showed Madut was not on any drugs or alcohol at the time of his death.
In the final report Zane Tessler, civilian director of the IIU, said the use of force was justified and unavoidable and said the officer's decision to shoot the man was necessary to prevent death or injury to himself or the other officer.
Tessler said the case is now closed, saying no charges should be laid against the officer.
An inquest into Madut's death was launched by Manitoba's Chief Medical Examiner in November.
-with files from CTV's Beth Macdonell