Duncan, BC – The sentencing hearing for RCMP Constable David Pompeo – the officer who shot unarmed Bill Gillespie in Chemainus in September 2009 – gets underway today in Duncan.
Bill Gillespie was shot on September 18, 2009. Almost two years later, on May 5, 2011, David Pompeo was charged with one count of aggravated assault. Const. Pompeo’s trial started on September 4, 2012 in Duncan. On February 14, 2013, Const. Pompeo was found guilty of aggravated assault. The court ruled that Const. Pompeo had no reason to believe that his life was in danger when he pulled Mr. Gillespie over on suspicion of driving while prohibited. Const. Pompeo has not yet been disciplined by the RCMP for his unlawful conduct and remains on the RCMP’s payroll. The BCCLA previously expressed concern that the officer, who was criminally charged at the time, was representing the RCMP in public at a conference.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gillespie is facing lifelong disability as the bullet fired by Const. Pompeo remains lodged in his spine. He says, “I live with pain every day and the horror of knowing that I could be facing paralysis in the future.” However, Mr. Gillespie is hopeful that the sentence will reflect the severity of the incident: “Police officers are not above the law. We need to have equality in our justice system.”
The BCCLA has supported Bill Gillespie throughout this long process and a BCCLA lawyer will be present today at the sentencing hearing.
“Bill Gillespie has been waiting a very long time for justice. This day has come almost four years after the shooting that irrevocably changed Mr. Gillespie’s life,” said Raji Mangat, BCCLA Counsel, “The RCMP has dragged its feet for years on its internal discipline process. We hope that, now with the criminal process nearly completed, the RCMP will finally take the appropriate internal disciplinary action against Const. Pompeo.”