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Vincent Gardner, a 49-year-old Black musician, was practising in a house at 22 Gould St. when he was shot in the abdomen during a raid by the Ottawa-Carleton Regional drug unit. The police officer mistook his headless bass guitar for a shotgun. Gardner died in hospital 51 days later.
Following that raid, which was carried out by drug officers, Ottawa police made the decision to have all drug raids instead carried out by tactical officers because they were better trained in “dynamic-entry” techniques and had better equipment than the average officer, such as guns with high-powered lights mounted on them, according to the 1996 inquest into Gardner’s death.
Lawyer Greenspon said “at this stage, we’re looking into it, we’re investigating it, we’re collecting whatever evidence we can as to the use or overuse of dynamic entry in these particular circumstances where Anthony is wearing an electronic bracelet and there’s a video cam on the front door, using that kind of a dynamic entry seems to me just on its face to have been excessive in the extreme. That would be the line that we would be pursuing once our investigation into it is complete.
“It was an unnecessary use of force in circumstances where (police) knew or ought to have known there was no need for that force and also recognizing that the unnecessary use of that force could lead to very serious, and in this case, life or death consequences,” Greenspon said.
The SIU said Friday its investigation continues. All nine officers who were designated as witness officers by the watchdog have been interviewed. So have four civilian witnesses, with more pending. The SIU has obtained relevant video footage, it said.
The SIU previously said it had designated three subject officers.