Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Man shot by police led a troubled life

The man shot and killed by Winnipeg police in a West Broadway back lane on Sunday had a dark and troubled past that his family hoped he would escape, CBC News has learned.
Lance Muir, 42, was shot to death in a Langside Street lane at about 9 a.m. Sunday.
Muir was a suspect in a break and enter, police said. When they arrived on the scene, there was a confrontation and Muir was fatally shot, police said.
Witnesses described seeing Muir holding a crowbar and a pillowcase before police arrived. It's believed he was hit by bullets while driving a stolen car toward police.
Police, however, have not confirmed this or said much else about the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

Ties to biker gang

Police confirmed they'd had many contacts with Muir over the years.
In 1996, he was involved in an attempted shooting murder of a fellow member of the Spartans motorcycle gang.
He served a full 10-year sentence for the crime after the National Parole Board ruled he was too much of a risk to be allowed out in public on special forms of early release.
'For those who knew him well, his past didn't matter.'— Melanie Muir-Backman,Lance Muir's sister
When Muir was given mandatory statutory release in 2003, after serving two-thirds of his sentence for the attempted murder, the parole board placed restrictions on him, according to documents obtained by CBC News.
Muir was ordered to abstain from all intoxicants and not associate with people involved in crime activities.
"Your avoidance of people who are involved in crime and drug use are key risk-management strategies in your case," the board said.
Within a month, Muir's release was revoked after he admitted to his parole officer that he snorted three lines of cocaine while working as a tattoo artist in Winnipeg. He promised to turn himself in but went underground instead for seven more months.
He was eventually arrested and returned to prison to complete his full sentence, which expired in July 2007.
Prior to his being set free, the parole board noted Muir's long battle with alcohol and drugs, which sometimes prompted him to resort to violence to resolve problems.

'Shirt off his back'

His sister, Melanie Muir-Backman, said Monday that he promised to try to get his life together after leaving prison.
"He swore when he got out of jail he would get his life back on track," she said.
Muir struggled to find work and didn't keep close ties with relatives, Muir-Backman said. But despite his troubles he was intelligent and generous, she said.
"The brother I knew would give the shirt off his back. … For those who knew him well, his past didn't matter."
Because Muir was shot by police, an inquest into his death is mandatory under provincial law.
The police investigation is still in the hands of the Winnipeg homicide squad. The findings will be reviewed by an outside police agency and an independent Crown attorney.

Victim was ex-biker
Winnipeg’s police chief is promising a thorough investigation into this weekend’s fatal officer-involved shooting of a break-and-enter suspect.
The 42-year-old victim, Lance Trevor Muir, was a former member of the now-defunct Spartans outlaw motorcycle gang in Winnipeg and did time for the attempted murder of a fellow biker more than a decade ago, a source said.
At least one officer encountered Muir, who was suspected of breaking into a home, in a back lane near Langside Street and Sara Avenue in West Broadway on Sunday shortly before 9 a.m.
Muir was in possession of a vehicle and was armed with a crowbar, a source said.
Some kind of confrontation ensued and Muir was shot at least once. Police haven’t disclosed the circumstances or how many shots were fired.
At least three bullet holes were visible in the car’s windshield. Police wouldn’t reveal whether the black Cadillac sedan was driven towards officers or how many officers were involved. The car ended up crashing into garbage bins and a wooden pole.
Remaining mum on the matter Monday, police wouldn’t say if the car was legally in Muir’s possession, stolen or taken without its registered owner’s consent.
A man who said he was Muir’s roommate told a Winnipeg TV station Sunday that Muir had stolen the car weeks before he was killed.
Police Chief Keith McCaskill said new information will be released in the future but not at the expense of the investigation, which is ongoing.
The homicide unit is investigating, which is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting. A provincial inquest is mandatory in such a scenario.
Muir had previously served a 10-year prison sentence for attempted murder with a firearm and drug trafficking.
In 1996, Muir and others kidnapped a fellow Spartans member and drove him to the Red River Floodway, where they shot him in the head and left him for dead. The man survived.
On at least two occasions, Muir was freed after serving two-thirds of his sentence only to be returned to federal prison for violating conditions of his statutory release.
Muir was last released on statutory release in January 2007 and proceeded to breach conditions three times before he was back behind bars, according to National Parole Board (NPB) documents. The NPB said in a July 2007 report that Muir had a long history of drug addiction and that his risk was “unmanageable” in the community.
Muir had no criminal convictions in Manitoba after his sentence expired in 2007, according to the courts.

Sounds to me like he did not receive much assistance once released from prison. Instead of simply saying he couldnt drink alcohol or do drugs, he should have been provided with substance abuse counseling and treatment programs, since he struggled with his addictions. He also should have been given employment assistance. It appears as if he was simply released on his own with no help whatsoever. This is dangerous as he is likely to resort back to crime.

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