A man who was shot in the head by Salmon Arm RCMP officers in 2017 at a local car wash is suing three officers and representatives of the provincial government.
Kaymen Wesley Winter, 25, filed a notice of civil claim with the BC Supreme Court in Kamloops on Jan. 21, 2019. Named as defendants in the suit are Constables David Wolchuk, Shane Neimi and Chad Inglis.
The notice of claim initially named Her Majesty the Queen as a defendant, along with the Salmon Arm officers, but a Dec. 4 consent order filed with the court substitutes the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General for the Queen. The Attorney General of Canada is also named as a defendant.
Shortly after midnight on Jan. 30, 2017, Winter was observed on video surveillance breaking into the coin box in one of the wash bays at the Xcalibur Car Wash located on a Trans-Canada Highway frontage road in Salmon Arm. Three RCMP officers from the Salmon Arm detachment responded.
The notice of claim states that, in the ensuing arrest, Wolchuk fired 14 rounds from his carbine rifle, injuring Winter to the point that his life was threatened. Winter’s lawyer claims his injuries were the result of police negligence either in Wolchuk’s actions, in the way he was trained or in the RCMP’s policy regarding the use of force. The notice also claims there was no threat of death or serious bodily harm to anyone involved when shots were fired.
Winter’s injuries detailed in the court document include an entry wound at the right parietal-occipital lobe of his brain, bone and metal fragments that penetrated his brain, injuries to his face and eyes and a soft-tissue injury to his shoulder. The notice of claim says that the injuries have caused Winter pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and destruction of his past and future earning capacity. Also noted are financial costs associated with the injuries including prescription drugs and doctors’ fees.
Winter and his lawyer are seeking general damages, special damages, exemplary damages, punitive damages, constitutional damages for breach of his Charter rights, interest and relief for costs incurred.
In February 2018 the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., the province’s police watchdog that investigates incidents involving death or serious harm, cleared the officer of wrongdoing. The report stated the officer was shooting at a truck driven by Winter seen accelerating towards another officer.
None of the assertions in the notice of claim have been proven in court.