Chair-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation: Shooting Death of Gregory Matters in Prince George, British Columbia

File No.: 2013-1309

May 1, 2013

As Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission), I am initiating a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of those RCMP members involved in the interaction with Mr. Gregory Matters from the time of the family dispute which occurred on September 9, 2012, to Mr. Matters' death following a police-involved shooting on September 10, 2012.

On September 9, 2012, Mr. Matters and his brother engaged in a dispute outside the residence of an off-duty RCMP member. That member called 911, as did Mr. Matters. Two members attended. Over the course of that day, members of the Prince George RCMP Detachment had repeated contact with Mr. Matters, and a decision was reached to arrest Mr. Matters for dangerous driving, assault with a weapon, assault, and breach of a peace bond. While Mr. Matters agreed on several occasions to submit to an arrest, he ultimately changed his mind. The RCMP's Emergency Response Team (ERT) was deployed in order to effect the arrest, and attended his place of residence. Mr. Matters continued to negotiate his surrender with RCMP members by telephone while the ERT stood by, and neared his location on the property. When telephone negotiations ceased, Mr. Matters was approached more closely by the four-member ERT. Mr. Matters was in possession of a hatchet, which he did not release upon being directed to do so. Ultimately, Mr. Matters was shot twice in the chest by a member of the Emergency Response Team.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of British Columbia was immediately notified and asserted jurisdiction over the incident, and conducted a criminal investigation. On May 1, 2013, the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO announced that he could not conclude that any member may have committed a criminal offence in this case.

I am initiating this complaint and public interest investigation with the full appreciation that the IIO has conducted a criminal investigation in respect of this incident and pronounced upon the lack of criminal culpability engaged by any involved member. However, the Commission's mandate is remedial in nature, and measures the conduct of RCMP members in the execution of their duties against applicable training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements, as opposed to the criminal standard.

Accordingly, pursuant to subsections 45.37(1) and 45.43(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act), I am today initiating a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of all RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in this incident, specifically:

  1. whether the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in the events of September 9 and 10, 2012, from the moment of initial contact  through to the subsequent shooting death of Mr. Matters, complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements;
  2. whether the RCMP national, divisional and detachment-level policies, procedures and guidelines relating to such incidents are adequate; and
  3. whether the actions taken by the RCMP in response to the incident were taken in accordance with all applicable policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements.
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