Police have concluded that two federal prison guards who shot two inmates at Millhaven Institution, killing one, did everything by the book. There was no “criminal wrongdoing,” according to the special police unit that investigates prison crime. Jordan Trudeau, 29, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to police. Trudeau (inset) was attacking another prisoner at the time and ignored orders to stop. You might wonder why prison guards wouldn’t shoot for the legs, to stop the attack, without killing the target? Prison guards are “not trained to shoot to wound or aim for peripheral portions of the human body” with their high-powered rifles, according to a confidential firearms training manual used by guard recruits (read it after the jump). The manual, obtained by Cancrime, also explains that guards are trained to shoot at the “centre of visible mass” when they’re firing at a prisoner.
We don’t yet know what weapon was used to shoot and kill Trudeau on March 20 but it sounds like he was struck by a round fired from a high-powered rifle or a pistol – since police say he died from a “single gunshot wound to the chest.” Canadian prison guards in armed positions use two variations of the AR-15 rifle, a lightweight, semi-automatic gun with a 20 or 30 shot magazine. Guards are armed with .223-calibre AR-15s and a 9 mm AR-15 carbine. They use hollow-point bullets, designed to expand on impact. Corrections says it uses the hollow points – as opposed to full metal jackets used by the military – because there’s less chance a bullet will pass through a target and inflict damage on bystanders. Prison guards also have access to shotguns. They use the Remington Model 870, pump action, with #4 BUCK shells. Some guards also carry 9 mm pistols.
Guards are trained to shoot at the legs of an inmate with shotguns – the only weapon with which they’re permitted to do this. “It is therefore considered a less lethal force option than a centre of mass shot,” according to the training manual, though the manual also notes that because the Corrections shotguns pack a powerful #4 BUCK load, even a leg shot “is potentially lethal.”
Guards also are trained to use “bounce shots” with their shotguns, ideally outside on a grass-covered ground surface. The idea is that the ground will slow the shotgun pellets, reduce their penetration power and make the shot less lethal. The manual notes that bounce shots are problematic inside many prisons because of the hard, flat floors that produce “significant and unpredictable” ricochet. The hard floors also don’t absorb much energy, so the bounce shot may inflict more damage than was intended.
Given that police say the prison guards who fired on Trudeau and another attacker “followed proper protocol,” we have to accept that they didn’t have any less lethal options, though police and Corrections have not provided any other specific details of the incident.
The internal training manual notes the conundrum of this situation. Prison guards are trained not to shoot at legs or peripheral areas of the body with their high-powered rifles, but “the intention of staff is stop the offender(s), through the legitimate use of force. While permanent physical injury and even death may result from receiving a gun-shot wound, this is NOT the intent of the officer when using this force option.”
Staff are bound by the Criminal Code and by CSC policy to use only as much force as is necessary to stop serious criminal behaviour. The potentially lethal options are reserved for the most serious situations, such as an attack in which someone may suffer grievous bodily harm or death, or an escape from a medium- or maximum-security prison. If an inmate is about to disappear past a fence or wall and has refused orders to stop, he might be shot.
Police are still investigating the incident involving Trudeau and Corrections is conducting its own internal investigation, but don’t hold your breath – once the CSC report is complete it will still be almost impossible to get anything useful from Corrections, even through Access to Information law.
Here’s a portion of the internal firearms training manual used by prison guard recruits and obtained by Cancrime. For the sake of brevity, I’ve reproduced only Chapter 5 on Use of Force (the entire manual is 11 chapters and more than 150 pages, including detailed information about the ammunition and weapons used). At the back of Chapter 5, you’ll see one page from Chapter 4 that lists the CSC weapons:
Heres’ the release issued this week by police about the Trudeau shooting :
FROM/DE: Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad
DATE: March 31,
Update – Millhaven Investigation
(Kingston, ON) – On Sunday, March 20, 2011, the Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad,
under the direction of OPP Detective Inspector Rene Bazinet, Criminal Investigation
Branch, responded to the maximum security unit in Millhaven Federal Institution to
investigate assaults and the death of inmate, 29-year-old Jordan TRUDEAU.
One portion of the investigation has concluded that there was no criminal wrong doing
by two Correctional Services Canada (CSC) officers that discharged their firearms
during a violent outbreak within the Institution. CSC officers followed proper protocol.
During the violence, several inmates attacked another inmate with weapons. The
deceased, Jordan TRUDEAU, was involved in the assaults.
TRUDEAU and another inmate were shot. A Forensic Pathologist conducted a post
mortem exam on TRUDEAU and determined that he died as a result of a single gunshot
wound to the chest. The other inmate was transported to hospital, treated and has been
returned to Millhaven Institution.
The Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad, comprised of officers from the Ontario Provincial
Police (OPP), Kingston Police Force (KPF), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP), are continuing their investigation.