As day two of the inquest into the member-involved shooting death of Brydon Whitstone got under way in Queen’s Bench Court in Battleford, a clearer picture had emerged about what transpired on the night of Oct. 21, 2017 in North Battleford.
The one fact that made the biggest headlines Monday was that Brydon Whitstone was unarmed when the altercation with police occurred at the corner of 15th Avenue and 105th Street.
But other evidence emerged Monday that Whitstone might have been, based solely on the statement to police by Amanda Wahobin, emotionally distraught and perhaps willing his own death by a “suicide by police.”
Evidence presented on the stand Monday indicated Whitstone was shot twice by RCMP Cst. Jerry Abbott after Whitstone had made a motion reaching into his own pants with his hand, after disregarding commands by police to keep his hands visible to them.
Tuesday testimony got underway later than expected, shortly after 10 a.m., as counsel for Whitstone’s family had been delayed by a power outage at their hotel in North Battleford.
Whitstone’s mother, Dorothy Laboucane, was in attendance in court for a second day and she was joined by Debbie Baptiste, mother of the late Colten Boushie, in the gallery.
Police testimony continued Tuesday with the focus now turning to the collision scene itself. Cpl. Robert Topping, RCMP collision reconstructionist, was the first witness called on Tuesday and he was sworn in as an expert.
His testimony focused on the three separate collisions that occurred over the course of a block at 15th Avenue and 105th Street, all three involving the white Buick LeSabre vehicle driven by Whitstone.
The first collision was at the end of an alley in which the LeSabre T-boned an RCMP vehicle at 83 km/h. Topping testified the LeSabre had been travelling a full 63 km/h above the speed limit through the alley.
The first collision with an RCMP vehicle had been captured in the video from the dash of the pursuit vehicle, which was played on Monday afternoon. That video was replayed again during Topping’s testimony, at which time Topping provided his comments. The video had also shown the point where the white LeSabre had finally come to a stop, surrounded by police vehicles.
Topping’s testimony wrapped shortly before noon. Following a 10-minute break, testimony resumed with Richard Kenkel, Advance Care Paramedic with WPD Ambulance, taking the stand.
Kenkel had attended the scene of the officer-involved shooting and his testimony focused on what happened there that night, as well as the report filed. His report noted the male was seen laying back on the ground and compressions were being done by an RCMP officer.
Kenkel testified he knew the patient Whitstone had been shot, and testified there had been two entrance wounds, including a large injury found on the patient’s chest wall. The exit wound was found on Whitstone’s right chest wall.
Kenkel’s own efforts included taking over compressions and securing and clearing the airway of Whitstone. It was noted Whitstone’s condition had “deteriorated rapidly” based on the electrical activity in Whitstone’s heart, according to Kenkel’s testimony.
Resuscitation efforts had lasted for 20 minutes before the patient was pronounced dead. It was determined the injuries sustained were “not compatible with life” and the patient was declared deceased at that point. Whitstone was inside the ambulance when he was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m.
After Kenkel’s testimony, the inquest broke for lunch. The indication from counsel is that Amanda Wahobin, passenger in the white LeSabre driven by Whitstone Oct. 21, would be the next witness called to testify.
Stay with the News-Optimist website throughout the day for further updates on the Brydon Whitstone inquest.