The Killing of Greg Matters: Will Justice prevail?

Greg Matteres, with sister Tracey Matters and brother-in-law Simon Poynter

A coroner inquest, consisting of seven men and women heard evidence from 30 witnesses on the killing of Greg Matters by an RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT). Despite evidence provided by a pathologist, that Greg was shot in his back twice, while walking away, the jury laid no blame. The report released by the province’s Independent Investigations Office omitted this fact. This raises the question of whether Greg Matters and his family will ever get the justice deserved?

Greg Matters, a Veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was killed during a standoff with the RCMP outside a rural home in British Columbia (BC), which he shared with his mother. Despite pleas by his mother and a psychiatrist, the RCMP appeared to ignore the advice and help and proceeded to go after Greg with an Emergency Response Team (ERT). During the standoff Greg was apparently killed with two shots into his back in the driveway of his home. After a coroner’s inquest, the death was characterized as a homicide but assigned no blame to the RCMP.

The inquest came up with nine recommendations, which almost appeared like motherhood statements. The nine recommendations included that ERT members should be trained in the use of non-lethal weapons and wear recording devices during confrontations.

A coroner’s jury looking into the RCMP shooting death of a former soldier wants to see emergency-response-team members trained in the use of non-lethal weapons and wear recording devices during confrontations.

According to a CTV Report the jury made two recommendations regarding mental health issues, urging that a mental health professional be in location when an ERT responds and that mental health training be completed within the first year of service and that ongoing training, including re-qualification be required throughout their service.

After four hours of deliberating, the jury has also recommended that:

RCMP police dogs be trained and utilized in apprehending armed subjects.

RCMP cellphones issued and used during a critical incident have all data collected and preserved.

ARWEN gun, or anti-riot weapon, be included in the RCMP’s less-lethal weapons.

Two of the jury’s recommendations were aimed specifically at the Minister of National Defence, the Canadian government and Veterans Affairs.

It called for programs to be developed to monitor the physical, emotional and financial health and well-being of all members of the Canadian Armed Forces, including veterans.

It also recommended adequate support and education for PTSD be made available to families and loved ones of members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Source: CTV

Greg served 14 years in the Canadian Forces and was released with a $123 monthly pension, which was apparently based on the 14 years service and which Greg chose over a return of contributions.

After three weeks of testimony the jury concluded that Greg Matters died at the hand of the RCMP at about 7:15 p.m. on September 10, 2012. RCMP Constable Brian Merriman testified that Matters was walking back towards his cabin and away from police officers, closest to Constable Reddeman, who was approximately five meters way. At that moment Corporal Colin Warwick fired two bullets from his M-16 AR, killing Greg instantly. Merriman said that Greg had a hatchet in his hand. Pathologist Dr. James Stephen provided evidence that both bullets entered Greg Matters’ back, with one exiting his chest and lodging in his forearm.

The RCMPs appearance at the Matters residence was as a result of an incident, which was a dispute that Greg had with his brother 30 hours earlier. The ERT team was dispatched when Greg did not appear for questioning at the RCMP detachment as requested.

Greg’s mother Lorraine pleaded with the RCMP to permit her to speak to her son and diffuse the situation. Instead of granting the request, she was physically taken to the ground by Corporal Warwick and injured. Warwick ordered her arrest and detention. She was held for the remainder of the day, but was never charged.

It is interesting to note that the police had no warrant to enter the Matters property or to arrest Greg. He was alone on the farm without firearms in his possession when he was confronted by heavily armed RCMP ERT members in camouflage gear. Despite the presence of a police dog, it was not used to apprehend Greg. Corporal Warwick decided not to use the dog, for fear that it would get hurt.

The fatality was investigated by the province’s newly created Independent Investigations Office, which issued a public report in May of 2013. The IIO found that no criminal action had taken place. (Information gleamed from Cameron’s blog provided to author by Greg Matters’ sister Tracey.)

Tracey’s comments

Corporal Colin Warwick shot and killed my brother with two shots in the back while walking away from him.

If anyone else other than police shot my brother in this fashion, our family would have had our day in court, with a proper trial and possible conviction. In addition we would have had access to police victims’ services.

Justice would have been served, but because my brother was shot in the back by a police officer, justice has not been served.

We did not have the benefit of the criminal justice system and we will continue to seek justice for Greg. The IIO got it wrong and we demand that the IIO conclusion be revised.

People should be treated equally and have access to the same criminal justice system which has been denied to us because Greg was shot in the back by someone in a uniform.

There has been no justification for Greg’s death. The government has turned its back on us. We have no access to the criminal justice system and no access to victims’ services.

In addition, all parties – The RCMP, the IIO, and the officers involved in the break-in, trespass and shooting of my brother, have been paid by the government with taxpayer’s money. Our family, like the Bush’s and the Jackson’s (who were in attendance during the inquest), do not have a lot of money and we need to rely on the help of lawyers like Cameron Ward to jump in. Legal fees are very expensive and it makes no sense that the victims of such violence and loss of life are the only ones who are not assisted by the government. The government does not provide a dime to us.

I don’t want to be in this situation, none of us do. It is cruel to families like ours that we need to sell our assets, ask our friends for money and rely on the generosity and good will of so many so that we can merely find out the facts surrounding our loved ones death.

We intend to follow through will pursue all avenues to seek justice including civil action and/or private prosecution. We will be seeking further legal advice regarding these matters.

On a query of how the interview went with the new investigator, Vince Bevan, Tracey said:

The interview with the investigator went as well as it could, I suppose. The success of the interview will be determined by the investigation’s outcome and whether or not any punitive measures are applied. However, from what I’ve heard from others about this process, the RCMP investigation into breach of misconduct is the most disappointing process of them all. This process was, in fact the one that frustrated my brother after he had filed a formal complaint into the way he had been treated years ago. It made him send an off the cuff, angry email that he regretted for the rest of his life. Even though he apologized profusely for his hasty response, in the end it was the e-mail to the RCMP Complaints Commission that made the police want to get him out of the picture. My family is not optimistic about the outcome of the RCMP investigation and I feel that there is a serious conflict of interest with regards to this investigation.

POLICE INVESTIGATOR FOR THE RCMP

Vince Bevan served as chief of police in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from April 2000 to March 2007. He led one of the largest police services in Canada and was one of only six Canadian chiefs in the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Vince Bevan began his career as a police officer in July 1973. Before moving in Ottawa in 1998 he was part of the Niagara Regional Police Service. During his career he had the chance to experience multiple assignments as uniform patrol, motorcycle patrol, special projects and criminal investigations. Bevan was also a member of the Emergency Task Force for five years. He was heading the Green Ribbon task force, notably during the period of the Paul Bernardo high-profile murders of two teenage girls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the early 1990s.[1]

In March 1998 he became deputy chief of the Operations Support division and in April 2000 he became chief of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police. In January 2001 he became the chief of the new Ottawa Police Service as a result of the municipal amalgamation.

In 2003, Vince Bevan was appointed an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada.

Opinion

Heavy handedness and not revealing the whole sequence of events are not new with the RCMP in B.C. It seems odd that the ERT response team would not accept the advice of Greg’s mother or permit the attending psychiatrist to be in attendance and at least try to calm Greg down.

In all likelihood we will never find out the real motivation of the police response, but the question should be asked why they attended the rural property without a warrant to enter nor one for Greg’s arrest. There are quite a few unanswered questions here.

Tracey’s and the family’s skepticism is easily understood, when the special investigator is another cop. In the end the proof will be in the pudding.

There is a facebook page Justice for Greg Matters. Please like the page if you agree that an injustice has occurred.

More on Greg Matters – Source: Vancouver Sun – The story on Greg Matters is far from over.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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6 Comments

  1. every one of these jurors should be ashamed of their selves and so should the ERT guy that murdered greg
    You will never convince me that trained RCMP ERT members could not contain and take down a single man armed with a small hatchet !!!!COWARDS at best and travesty of the worst proportions

  2. This is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever read in my 56 years.

    RIP Greg Matter.
    Justice will prevail.

  3. Ps. I would Appeal to the Highest Court … I would Picket For Justice ~! This Veteran was Shot in the Back not Once but Twice ! Which means he was obviously not in Assault of Officers Mode`!

  4. Christine thank you for you comments. I fully agree with you. This operation was out of context and the police did nothing to calm this soldier down or have his psychiatrist reason with him. Sadly this happens way too often in British Columbia and it is not the first case where police actions is under fire. The sad part is that it was investigated by cops and no one was found responsible, although all the evidence seems to point in that direction.

  5. I certainly Hope “Justice in this case “Prevails ” `! This young Veteran of War had already Served his Country & Endured the “Hell Fire of War”~! That is Why he suffered from “PTSD ” ~! “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “which is” dibilitating “Esp…When how this Scenario had escalated on this day ..!. Guns.. Armoured RCMP & Police .. Hellicopters cars a crowd ~! All would cause this Veteran to surcome to a “Flashback of War” & an” Imediate Panic Mode” for his Own survival ~! The Abusive force the police used on this Young Veteran’s Mother that she also surcumed to ~! I feel was Indeed not neccesary in fact i would say it was excessive ~! I am also Concerned & Query Why when this Veteran’s Psychiatrist had personally Contacted the Police . Explained his Ptsd . Disorder .Why they the Police did not let him try to Calm or Reason with this Young Veteran!!!? As he the Psychiatrists had suggested ? Further more these Police Rcmp are trained in Tactical Moves to bring down all Suspects !Shooting one in the Back not once but twice seems Brutally out of this Context~! Lets Face it this was A” Common Assault charge ” that “Escalated to Murder~! “This Young Veteran had Survived War to Surcumb to “Hell Fire War “on “his Homeland Countries Soil ~!” Sad Very Sad~! God Bless his Mother ,Sister & Family ! May Justice Prevail !

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