RNC officer testifies about using gun in sting operation

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Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Const. Dustin Spurrell continues his testimony in provincial court today.

Justin Michael Chipman — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

Spurrell is answering questions about why he fired a single shot from his service revolver on a night in February in St. John's, when the police force were carrying out a sting operation to catch Justin Chipman.

Chipman was known to police and a sting was set up to catch the 26 year old breaking into cars on Memorial University's campus.

Chipman is facing several charges of assaulting a police officer. His defense is arguing police used excessive force. The bullet grazed Chipman, but did not cause any serious injuries.

Geographic location: St. John's

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  • Voter
    July 25, 2014 - 18:42

    Once again, the focus is on the police and not the accused. The police wouldn't have had to use any force if he had not tried to evade arrest; so, in essence he controlled how much force was needed.

  • Virginia Waters
    July 25, 2014 - 15:20

    This story bizarre, incomprehensible and worrisome on so many levels. Worrisome that senior RNC management would have let this cowboy loose in the City without close supervision. Incomprehensible that so many public assets could have been deployed in one sting operation aimed at a petty thief and yet that it was so poorly planned and executed that the thief would escape. Bizarre that an officer would think that using a police vehicle to T-bone a suspect vehicle was commensurate with the severity of the crime and the implications for public safety. But the most disturbing aspect, of course, is that the same officer would think it appropriate to kill the suspect to prevent his immediate escape - (1) despite the fact that his re-capture was inevitable, (2) that he would be so oblivious to public safety in an area densely populated by students, and (3) that he would fire through the driver's window with a fellow officer situated on the passenger side of the car. Just in case there is anyone who believes the officer didn't not intend to kill the suspect, please understand that while police are cautioned against the use of deadly force unless absolutely, they are trained to aim for the chest in the event they decide such force is justified. After this officer's testimony over the past couple of days, I can only surmise that things turn pretty frosty at RNC offices these days when this particular officer walks through the door. Note the stark differences in testimony from the officer who shot the suspect and his colleagues. Incredible.