The family of Lance Cutarm (30), member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation, is suing the RCMP officer who killed him during a 2013 traffic stop near Pigeon Lake, Alberta.
On August 3, a vehicle driven by Lawrence Cutarm and his three sons, including Lance Cutarm, was pulled over by RCMP officer Corporal Kevin Krebs. The lawsuit claims that Corporal Krebs became violent with Lawrence Cutarm outside the vehicle, without warning striking him on the head and handcuffing his hands behind his back.
Lance Cutarm and his two brothers, all of whom were outside the vehicle, asked Krebs to stop using force against their father. The lawsuit claims the three were running away from Krebs when he opened fire, fatally shooting Lance in the chest and striking his older brother, Laron Cutarm, twice in the torso.
The claim states that the brothers “were not acting in a threatening manner to Krebs or to anyone, and this use of deadly force was unnecessary, excessive and unlawful.” The suit also claims: “The RCMP members’ conduct constitutes an arbitrary and malicious punishment and a malicious exercise of their authority.”
While criminal charges were initially laid against Lawrence and Laron Cutarm they were withdrawn by a prosecutor in May 2014.
In January, Alberta’s police watchdog, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) reported that this lethal interaction with the RCMP started because Krebs pulled the Cutarms’ truck over after a passenger gave him the middle finger as they drove by him.
The family is suing the officer for $650,000.