The 34-year-old Alberta Mountie faces five charges arising from a vehicle stop in September 2011 in which the driver was shot. More than one shot is believed to have been fired by the officer.
The announcement of the charges was made Thursday by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT). ASIRT is an Alberta agency that has jurisdiction over all police officers in the province. It is charged with investigating incidents in which serious injury or death arises as a result of the actions of a police officer. ASIRT is an independent body, headed by a civilian.
CBC reports Jason Clace, a four-year veteran of the force, has been charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent to wound, maim or disfigure, aggravated assault, use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence and careless use of a firearm.
On Sept. 23, 2011, Clace was on patrol in Boyle, Alberta, about 150 km northeast of Edmonton. Investigators are not releasing too many details as the matter is now before the courts but it is alleged the officer fired more than one shot at a vehicle that was moving. The driver of the car was hit in the shoulder; none of the passengers were injured.
The Edmonton Journal identifies the driver as Luke Huppie, 22. He was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has fully recovered. Huppie was charged with several traffic offences including driving while unauthorized, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, displaying an unauthorized license plate and driving without insurance.
Clifton Purvis, executive director of ASIRT, acknowledged Clace and Huppie were "known to each other" but refused to provide details of their prior relationship.
Clace has been on administrative duties since the shooting although his status with the RCMP may change now that he is facing charges. Marianne Ryan, Assistant Commissioner and head of K Division, is quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, "His status is now under review and that could include suspension. The RCMP takes this matter very seriously. We respect the ASIRT process and the results of the ASIRT investigation and we respect that the matters [are] now before the criminal courts, and we will need to await the outcome of that criminal process."
Clace has been released from custody and is due in court on Dec. 11.