Use of force techniques, and the training that officers receive to “de-escalate” a situation, are now in focus at the coroner’s inquest that is examining the death of Steve Mesic.
Ontario Police College instructor John Weiler has taken the stand to talk about the training that police officers receive.
He tells the inquest that “de-escalation” is about using communication to build a “rapport”. Weiler adds that means speaking calmly and slowly while avoiding things like insults and profanity.
That runs contrary to the testimony of one of two constables who shot and killed Mesic last June.7th, and who has acknowledged swearing at him and using words like “are you stupid?”, in a bid to snap the 45 year old out of what has been described as a “trance-like state”.
Expanding on “de-escalation” techniques, Weiler stresses that if someone is being unpredictable and violent, you can’t simply withdraw and leave them to their own devices.
He also insisted that an “edged-weapon”, such as a shovel, is dangerous and unpredictable and the chances of grappling with one and coming away unscathed are very, very slim.
The day’s testimony prompted a reminder from the coroner that it is considered a “fact” of the inquest, that the two officers who shot and killed Mesic did not know at the time about his psychological issues.
Jurors have also been taken for a tour of the shooting location, outside of the deceased’s mountain townhouse.