WINNIPEG – Five officers with Winnipeg Police have been cleared of any wrongdoing for shooting and killing Mark Dicesare, 24, at Grant Avenue and Kenaston Boulevard on Nov. 6, 2015.
After a 15 month investigation, the province’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU), have determined that no charges should be laid against any officer in the incident and that it was clear Dicesare wanted to end his life by having police shoot him.
“This matter is indeed a tragedy,” IIU civilian director Zane Tessler said. “A family and close friends have been left to grieve, and the involved officers will inevitably relive this event time and time again.”
The final report by the IIU shows the incident began at around 12:20 p.m. when a man in a white Audi drove towards a police cruiser and pointed what appeared to be an Uzi submachine gun. Calls also came into 911 about a speeding car, driving erratically and some callers reported a gun in the driver’s hand.
The IIU investigation found two video recordings on Dicesare’s cell phone.
“Hey guys, I just want to let you guys know before I go, I um, I had a good life OK? I had fun, I uh … I’m so sorry guys,” Dicesare emotionally said.
The 22 km pursuit ended in the field on the northwest corner of Grant and Kenaston at around 12:50 p.m. and the car was surrounded by 19 police cars.
“During the standoff, he had exited the vehicle on two occasions, on each occasion pointed a firearm that he was carrying at his own chin,” Tessler said while adding investigators later determined the weapon was in fact an air gun, made to look just like the real thing, but one that only shoots BBs and it was not loaded.
Firearm located and seized at Grant and Kenaston
During the incident, Dicesare had called 911 and remained on the line with an operator for 32 minutes and was asked at least 33 times by the operator and police to drop the gun.
“On the second occasion that he was outside the vehicle, (Dicesare) moved the weapon from pointing at his own chin and then lowered it in a downward motion, aiming it officers,” Tessler said.
“At one point he had indicated words to the effect that, ‘I’m going to have you guys do it for me, I’m so sorry.’”
Tessler said Dicesare was struck nine times from carbines, handguns and a shotgun.
“This has a tremendous weight on any police officer,” Tessler said. “I truly do not believe any officer wants to go work and wants to shoot them and wants to kill them.”
38 officers and 96 witnesses were interviewed. Investigators also obtained several cellphone videos, although Tessler said they did not have video of the actual shooting. The investigation also included an examination of the shooting scene, autopsy report, a report from a forensic firearms specialist and a toxicology report.
“It was disclosed that he had alcohol in his system, as well as other drugs such as cocaine, THC (marijuana), diazepam, and a few other drugs as well,” Tessler said. “He had blood-alcohol readings between .075 and .146.”
The IIU report makes reference to mental health issues and concerns were raised by Dicesare’s friends regarding bouts with depression and substance abuse.
Tessler said this is also a highly emotional time for Dicesare’s family and should be allowed time to grieve.
“They’re dealing with the loss of a child or a sibling,” he said. “They understand what happened, they hold no grudges or blame on the police for what had transpired, they understand the circumstance that was created was such that left little options to the police.”
You can read the IIU’s full report on the shooting here.
Message from Chief of Police Danny Smyth
I am currently taking time to review the IIU report which concludes its investigation into the police involved shooting on Kenaston Boulevard on November 6, 2015. I want to acknowledge the challenging situation our officers and support staff found themselves in during this traumatic incident. No member of the Winnipeg Police Service wants to be confronted with such a violent situation, and no member would ever take lightly the burden of having to take another life. I appreciate the job done by our officers to limit further injury. I also want to extend my sympathies to the family of the young man who lost his life. I would also like to acknowledge the impact this had on our community, and assure the public that their safety is always the most important consideration for our officers.
Chief of Police