What we do know:
1. Don Dunphy fired off a set of 5 tweets (forming one statement) to former Premier Paul Davis and Minister Sandy Collins. The tweets criticized the two for enjoying a nice drive on a sunny day while people with work place related injuries suffered without the proper financial and/or medical care;
2. Someone from the Premier's Office, likely someone who was responsible for monitoring his Twitter account, informed the Premier's body guard of the tweets. That part is not in question - Paul Davis admitted as much here . (OF NOTE - the 12 minute taped interview of Davis on this story is unplayable now...)
3. In the same CBC story, Paul Davis claims that he was concerned by the tweets of Don Dunphy, and took them as a threat - he even showed concern for his Grandmother. This is after he spoke personally with Sgt Joe Smyth, and offered him his personal best wishes in the matter. There is absolutely no question that Davis, and his political staff, took Don Dunph's tweet as a threat - or at least that is what they said to the provincial media at the time.
Smyth, for his part, issued an email to his colleagues that was leaked to the media shortly after the shooting. The full text of the email is found here . In the email, Smyth refers to "proactive policing":
"Protective policing - is predicated on intelligence led investigations. Most will inherently view police work as something that is reactive. ie. Somebody is threatened and we respond accordingly. Intelligence based policing is proactive, and in the case of protective services, attempts to identify potential concerns and disconcerting behavior, and through a risk analysis endeavors to assign threat levels and implement corrective measures before an act of targeted violence occurs."
That's an interesting concept, and a mouthful for sure, but has no basis in the Act that governs the RNC ( see the Act here ). The only thing that comes close to justifying that course of thinking and acting are the parts that refer to "keeping the peace" and "preventing crimes and offences". Just one problem with that: there was no crime about to be committed. Despite the fact that Davis told the media that a member of his staff identified a threat from Dunphy's tweet, and despite the fact that Davis told the public the tweet was a threat to him and his family, the officer who pulled the trigger said he never took the tweet as a threat. In the most shocking revelation about Don's death Smyth admits he never took any threat from Dunphy's tweet:
"At no point did I or members of the RNC interpret any of Mr. Dunphy's social media commentary as threats - as has been indicated time and time again by both traditional and social media platforms"
First off, it was then Premier Davis himself who divulged that he and his political staff took the tweets as a threat to the Premier and his family - that's where social and regular media got the story from. Secondly, and far more importantly, Smyth admits that he never considered the tweets, and by association Don Dunphy, as threats. So that begs the question why did he go to Don Dunphy's home? Retired Justice Riche, charged with independent oversight of the investigation, had a similar thought in a CBC interview:
"I find it hard to understand how this happened. ... Then I said to myself, 'Well maybe it shouldn't have happened at all." (read full story here )
Smyth then went on to explain why, as an officer on duty, he attended Dunphy's home at all on that Easter Sunday:
" The goal of the meeting was to build a rapport with Dunphy, and to identify if there was a reasonable solution to his grievance."
This by far is the most bizarre statement of the entire Dunphy tragedy. At this point it's worth noting another one of Justice Riche's observations on the matter:
"There's a lot of contradictions. Like in front of Dunphy's house, there were signs, 'No government people, nobody allowed in', and that kind of stuff. And yet Smyth says he came to the door."
So, despite the fact that Don Dunphy had posted signs outside his home stating he didn't want government people in his home, Smyth decided to enter the home to build a "rapport" with him. There is nothing in the RNC Act that authorizes police forces to enter on private property to build "rapports" with people. There is also nothing in the RNC Act authorizing an officer to "identify if there is a reasonable solution to the grievance." In fact, Don Dunphy's grievance was clearly with the Worker's Compensation Board, a board of government, a board dealing with governmental policy on injured workers, and therefore a political body. Dunphy's "grievance" was purely political in nature. A grievance of this type is statutorily the responsibility of politicians to investigate, and to develop a rapport if necessary to resolve. As such, Smyth is definitely in violation of the RNC Act:
15. (1) A police officer shall not engage in political activity, except as the regulations permit."
By Smyth's own damning admission, he was acting as a political fixer, at the behest of the Premier's Office (which has already been admitted). A very serious violation of his duties, and one that, in my opinion, should result in him being charged for Criminal Negligence Causing Death as outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada:
" 219. Criminal negligence
(1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.
Definition of "duty"
(2) For the purposes of this section, "duty" means a duty imposed by law."
In my opinion, Smyth is at least guilty of this offence. He acted to resolve a political matter at the behest of the Premier's Office. That is strictly banned under the RNC Act. He understood by his own words that there was no threat, and therefore no offence for him to investigate. He ignored an offer from the RCMP for backup, and he chose to ignore signs posted clearly on Dunphy's premises banning government people. In other words, he showed wanton and reckless disregard for the situation - which resulted in the death of Don Dunphy. These are the facts admitted to by Smyth - not made up on social media as he is fond of saying.
4. We now know, thanks solely to the interviews with Justice Riche that:
(i) Smyth intended to kill Don Dunphy;
(ii) Smyth fired the fatal shots from no further than 3 to 4 feet from Dunphy;
(iii) Smyth fired 4 shots into Dunphy (one to the head) while none were fired by Dunphy; and
(iv) The rifle found next to Dunphy's body was not placed in a way that would be consistent with someone shot in the way Dunphy was.
Justice Riche also stated that a Holyrood RCMP officer offered to accompany Smyth to the Dunphy residence, but was turned down by Smyth, and that Smyth had a history of being "aggressive". You can listen to the interviews with Justice Riche here . There is no question my mind, after watching the interviews, that Justice Riche doubts Smyth - to put it mildly.
As a former military officer myself, and having dealt with all types of weapons from pistols to as large as anti-tank weapons, that Smyth's story doesn't hold water. First of all there are the wounds. Three to the upper chest, and then the last to the right side of Dunphy's head. The last wound is the most damning, and you could see it impacted Justice Riche as well. A side shot to the head indicates Dunphy was starting to spin to the side after being struck by three bullets to the chest. That is finishing off a kill, or as Justice Riche said: "an intention to kill". There is no question about that. It also shows excessive force given the man was already spinning away from the three shots and no longer a threat.
However, and I've always found this to be totally unbelievable from my training and experience, there is no way that Dunphy could have pointed a rifle at Smyth first and Smyth just responded. First of all, and importantly, Smyth's pistol would have been holstered, uncocked, and perhaps not even having a bullet in the chamber. It takes time to unholster, cock, and aim a weapon. If Dunphy had a rifle pointed at Smyth before Smyth reacted, well Smyth would have no chance. Instead, we are left to believe that Smyth simply reacted. That is almost impossible. Especially considering not one round was fired off by Dunphy first. The timing of this draw for weapons makes absolutely no sense, and really belongs in some kind of western movie. It's not reality.
Then there is the issue of the shots coming from 3 to 4 feet from Dunphy. An average .22 caliber rifle is about 3 feet long, perhaps longer. That means that Smyth would have had to shoot Dunphy at almost the exact same distance the rifle would be pointed at him. In other words muzzle to muzzle. That means there wouldn't be three separate wounds all over Dunphy's upper chest, but more than likely three wounds grouped closely together in one spot on his chest. If Dunphy was aiming the weapon, as is alleged, only the side of his body would be exposed - not his entire chest. See Justice Riche's video and note where he shows Don Dunphy was hit.
All in all, the Smyth account of what happened quite frankly can't be true. It is as if he made the story up from some western or cop movie. You can quite easily see that Justice Riche doesn't believe it either. It is because it is not believable by anyone that either has the courtroom experience to know it, or the professional (military/police) experience to know it. What this new evidence does do is lay out the grounds for criminal charges against Smyth. In an ironic twist, Smyth's own words that there was never a perceived threat are the most damning to him of all.