No Judicial Review of Decision Not to Lay Charges in Police Killing of Anthony Heffernan

Anthony Heffernan was alone in his hotel room, holding a syringe, and posing no threat to the public or police, when Calgary police officers broke down the door to the room, burst in, and shot the 27-year-old four times, twice in the head. The officer in question fired six time in total that day in March 2015. The syringe Heffernan was holding had no needle attached. Despite the fact that the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines case of police harm to civilians in Alberta, found that there were grounds to charge the officer responsible criminally, the Crown prosecutors decided not to lay charges.

On January 10, 2018, Anthony Heffernan’s parents found out that their bid to have a judicial review of the decision not to lay charges in the case was not granted. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Henderson ruled that there is no evidence to support the parents’ allegation that there was an abuse of process by the Crown.

This does not answer why the Crown chose not to follow the ASIRT recommendation to charge the officer nor does it explain how breaking down a door and firing six shots at someone for holding a piece of plastic is justifiable or reasonable force, or does anything to protect the public. The state protects the state.

The Heffernan family had argued that the officer fired recklessly and wildly. They have filed a lawsuit against the police service.

The Calgary police force had been involved in six fatal police shootings over two years in 2015 and 2016.

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