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Man sues Kelowna RCMP officer over December 2019 shooting

The officer also faces possible charges for the incident
Kelowna Law Courts (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)

A local man is suing a Kelowna RCMP police officer who shot him in December 2019.

Philip Hakim filed a civil claim suit against the RCMP and Const. David Gauthier on Tuesday, Nov. 30, close to two years after Gauthier shot Hakim on Highland Drive North. According to court documents, Gauthier attempted to pull over Hakim on Highway 97 near Dilworth Drive just after midnight on Dec. 22, 2019. The court documents didn’t specify why the officer tried to pull Hakim over.

The officer then followed Hakim northbound onto Spall Road, and eventually down Highland Drive North, a residential area. Hakim’s suit claims that Gauthier’s in-car recording equipment recorded Gauthier’s commanding officer to “shut it down” and to “not engage.” Hakim says that Gauthier then turned off the police vehicle’s siren and emergency lights and continued to pursue him to the end of the road.

Gauthier then allegedly attempted to block Hakim entirely, parking the police car nose-to-nose against Hakim’s pickup truck and reactivating his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to arrest Hakim. According to court documents, Gauthier exited his vehicle and pointed a firearm directly at Hakim and a female passenger.

“Gauthier yelled: ‘Stop right there! Stop right there!’ while still pointing his firearm directly in the direction of the plaintiff and his passenger’s face. Within one second, Gauthier fired two shots directly towards the plaintiff and his passenger through the passenger-side window, striking the driver and plaintiff twice in his right arm,” read Hakim’s suit.

Hakim then tried to flee after he was shot. Gauthier returned to his police vehicle and tried to continue pursuing Hakim, but lost sight of Hakim’s vehicle along Highland Drive North. Gauthier asked his commanding officer if Hakim should be contained, to which the commanding officer declines.

Hakim was later treated for gunshot wounds at Kelowna General Hospital where it was confirmed he had two bullets in his right forearm. As a result, Hakim says he is no longer able to work and has not been able to since he was shot. He also says he suffered emotional distress and physical pain after the incident.

Hakim also filed a complaint with the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. regarding the incident. The police watchdog has since recommended that Gauthier be criminally charged for his conduct of the case, but the matter is still before the Crown Prosecution Service for charge approval more than a year later.

Hakim is seeking damages and lost wages for the injuries he suffered. “All of the injuries, loss and damage were caused or contributed to by the actions of Gauthier and the respondent RCMP,” reads his suit.

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