Calgary man shot by police speaks out: ‘This is worse than a life sentence’

Morgan Thompson misses the simple things now, like his days of riding his bike and working at landscaping jobs.

Everything changed for Thompson in March of last year, when he was shot by a Calgary police officer in downtown Calgary.

One bullet remains in his spine.  He is now a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair to get around.

“I couldn’t move anything. I knew I was paralyzed because I never felt anything like that,” Thompson said, outside his downtown apartment on Sunday.

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Thompson was shot on March 21, 2015 after confronting people gathered at an anti-racism rally near City Hall.

READ MORE: Calgary man remains in coma after last month’s police involved shooting

It’s been over a year since Thompson was shot. No charges have been laid against him so far and an ASIRT investigation in still underway.

“I said a bunch of stupid stuff. I don’t know what I was thinking. All I know I was leaving peacefully and they started following me,” Thompson said. “I tried running. But now it’s time to fight. I didn’t think I’d get shot. I thought four big police officers could’ve overwhelmed me easily. Why didn’t they have tasers?”

Thompson allegedly threatened the officer with a pipe, according to ASIRT, and was shot.

“The police officer exited his vehicle and began following the male. The three recruits also exited the vehicle but followed at a distance. The police officer caught up with the male. There was brief physical contact. We do know that the officer drew his baton which was recovered on scene,” Calgary Police Chief Paul Cook said at the time of the shooting. He was the interim police chief at the time.

Thompson still manages to get out in his wheelchair to the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Flea market where he and his father have sold their wares for many years.

“I exercise and eat well and try to stay positive. It’s hard, right? I wake up in the morning and ask why do I go on? What’s the point of me going on.”

Fellow vendors have been helping Thompson since he was released from the hospital a few months ago.

They are also mourning the recent death of Thompson’s father Don, who passed away in May after spending many months by his son’s bedside while he recovered in the hospital.

“I’d say the bullets killed his dad. That’s what I think,” Al Gibson, a friend of a family, said.  “His dad must’ve gone through hell, worrying about if his son is going to live, and how he’s going to live and how am I going to have to take care of him and everything else.”

Gibson says he feels sympathy for both Thompson and the officer who pulled the trigger.

“He’s not the white supremacist that he painted him as. Not at all,” Gibson said.

“My reading on it? It’s just really unfortunate circumstances. My dad was a cop in Hamilton.  I feel for both parties. I’m right on the fence, right in the middle on this one,” Gibson said.

“He did admit to saying it was the dumbest thing he ever did. But it doesn’t mean he deserves what he got for it,” Gibson said.

Thompson says his life is lonelier now without his dad, who he lived and worked with. He regrets his actions on that day in March of last year, but wonders how it could have led to his current situation.

“Just the circumstances leading up to it. I might’ve been a little wrong. But this is worse than a life sentence. This is a life sentence of pain and embarrassment. This is forever,” Thompson said.

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