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'I could not believe what happened,' cop who shot fellow officer tells court

A Niagara police officer who shot a fellow cop during an altercation nearly three years ago told his colleague's assault trial that he found their interaction so implausible he feared nobody would believe what happened. Det.-Sgt.

A Niagara police officer who shot a fellow cop during an altercation nearly three years ago told his colleague's assault trial that he found their interaction so implausible he feared nobody would believe what happened. 

Det.-Sgt. Shane Donovan testified Wednesday at the trial of Const. Nathan Parker, who has pleaded not guilty to assault with intent to resist arrest, assaulting a police officer and assault with a weapon. 

Donovan told the court that Parker assaulted him during a collision investigation in November 2018, pushing him hard enough to cause bruising and pulling out his baton and firearm. Donovan said he then shot Parker several times, including once in the torso.

"I could not believe what had happened and I expected no one else would believe it," Donovan told the court. 

Donovan said he asked a bystander if he had video, hoping there was evidence of what transpired. 

Court heard that the bystander didn't have video, so Donovan asked him to stay and watch so he could be a witness. 

"I wanted witnesses to what was happening ... because I had just shot a person, another police officer, so I want everyone to see what happened so if anything else went wrong, I've got evidence," he said.

Donovan said he asked the bystander –  a man who lived near the Pelham, Ont., site where the altercation and shooting occurred – to take note of the position of Parker's baton and Donovan's lanyard.

"It shows the movement of what happened," he explained. "If an officer comes and picks it up, it changes the scene. If someone kicks it, it changes the evidence of what happened."

Donovan told the court he was concerned about the integrity of the scene, and didn't leave until more officers arrived for fear evidence might be moved, despite the other officer's protests. 

"I think just being there was enough to provoke him," Donovan said. "...He was constantly yelling." 

The Special Investigations Unit initially charged Donovan as well, but those charges were dropped when, his lawyer said, prosecutors found there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. 

In cross-examination on Wednesday, Parker's lawyer suggested Donovan was biased against his colleague. 

"The reason you did not give police Const. Parker your cell number personally is because you had formed the opinion ... the less you talked to him the better," Joseph Markson posited. 

Donovan denied that, saying he thought Parker already had his number and that he would have spoken to his colleague if necessary, but that he had tried to avoid it. 

"He was not approachable, and I didn't want to have any issues," Donovan said. "I left it at that."

The trial continues Thursday. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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