On July 26, 2019, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) issued a warning to the public that Matthew Marty Powder, a high-risk violent offender, was released from custody.
On September 18, 2020, following a confrontation with police, Matthew Marty Powder was shot and killed by members of the Edmonton Police Service when he challenged them while holding a loaded firearm.
Powder was subject to three lifetime firearm prohibition orders – none of which prevented Powder from illegally obtaining a shotgun and ammunition for it.
One family member claims Powder was trying to turn his life around.
“He was one of the most peaceful men I knew and a real role model to look to for getting out of the street life and off drugs and alcohol,” said Lance Reid, Powder’s nephew.
Reid’s claim his uncle is a “one of the most peaceful men” he knew is easily debunked by Powder’s willingness to violate his three lifetime firearm prohibition orders and illegally obtain a gun, then attempt to use that gun against police.
These are not the actions of a peaceful man looking to turn his life around.
On the afternoon of September 18, 2020, Edmonton Police received multiple reports of a man armed with a firearm in the alley behind the Eastglen Motor Inn on 118 Avenue and 69 Street, and then in the backyard of a nearby residence.
The man was identified by name and a description was provided, although police will not confirm the deceased is Matthew Marty Powder.
Several units were dispatched and the EPS tactical unit responded.
At about 4:14 p.m., the first officers on scene proceeded to the rear of the residence, where officers encountered Marty Powder. A confrontation occurred and two EPS constables discharging their service weapons.
Their bullets fatally wounded him.
A 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun with a single round in the chamber was recovered on scene.
Eight shotgun shells were located in one of Powder’s pockets, and a fully loaded magazine containing five rounds, along with one additional loose shotgun shell, were found in another pocket.
ASIRT, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, is investigating the fatal shooting and will not release any new information until their inquiry is complete.
This was not the first time police issued a public warning about Matthew Marty Powder.
Police warned the public after Powder was released in 2004 following his 2001 conviction for murdering his cousin, who he kicked and punched to death.
His freedom did not last long. On February 15, 2005, Powder assaulted two Edmonton Police constables and was sent back to the Edmonton Remand Centre.
In 1998, Powder was charged with mischief, along with 39 other Edmonton Institution inmates, after several small riots caused more than $100,000 damage.
I could not find any information on why Power was incarcerated in 1998.
Edmonton Police Service Behavioural Assessment Unit
When a violent offender completes his or her sentence, Corrections Canada has no choice but to release them back into society.
This is where the Edmonton Police Service’s Behavioural Assessment Unit (BAU) comes in. It attempts to fill the gap between violent offenders and the public to maintain public safety.
“We’re a specialized unit within the Edmonton police that deals only with high-risk, violent sexual offenders and high-risk violent offenders who are released to the Edmonton area,” says Detective Greg Kitura.
When the Correctional Service of Canada deems an offender to be high risk, it notifies the Edmonton police. The BAU then assesses of the person to determine the individual’s risk of reoffending.
“This risk assessment not only looks at their offending history but looks at their entire life history: their family upbringing, education, employment, mental health — all of those kinds of things,” he said.
If the BAU believes a convicted criminal may re-offend they can apply for a Section 810 peace bond through the courts.
A peace bond is a protection order made by a court under section 810 of the Criminal Code. It is used where an individual (the defendant) appears likely to commit a criminal offence, but there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has actually been committed.
This peace bond allows the police to be proactive in cases where a violent offender has completed their full sentence, but remains a danger to society.
“We meet with them on a personal basis, at least once or twice a week. We see them in person. They come to meet with us. We do formal interviews or we meet them in their homes. We’ll go knock on the doors or wherever they may be, we’ll just show up,” Kitura said.
Edmonton’s BAU only deals with violent and sexual offenders who have completed their prison sentences.
If this unit was expanded to monitor violent offenders with firearm prohibition orders against them, then Edmonton’s BAU would come close to emulating United Kingdom’s Management of Sexual and Violent Offenders (MOSOVO) Units.
This is exactly the kind of unit I advocate for when I write about reforming Canada’s broken firearm prohibition order system.
“We don’t live in a country that will ever lock somebody up and throw away the key,” says Retired EPS officer and former BAU member Doug MacLeod.
“We don’t believe in capital punishment; that’s fine. But we do need to make sure that our communities are as safe as they can be. Presently, we are putting our communities at risk.”
The Edmonton Police Service 2019 High-Risk Offender Warning
Now removed from the Edmonton Police Service’s website, this PDF contains the following information on this now-deceased high-risk offender.
Matthew Marty Powder is a convicted violent offender and the Edmonton Police Service has reasonable grounds to believe he is a risk of significant harm to the public and will commit another violent offence against someone while in the community.
Powder has a history of violent offences causing bodily harm to both make and female victims, known and unknown to him, in addition to using weapons while committing the offences.
The police force is seeking a recognizance order on Powder and he will be monitored by the EPS Behavioural Assessment Unit.
He has been placed under a series of court-ordered conditions, including:
- He must abide by a curfew of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
- He shall not purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages or any drugs on the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
- He shall not be in any licensed premise or liquor store.
- He shall not possess any drug paraphernalia.
- He must not travel outside the city of Edmonton without written approval.
- He must not be in a dating relationship or “any friendships with females” until her identity has been disclosed to his supervisor.
- He must not be in possession of weapons of any kind, including knives, bear spray, firearms, ammunition, explosive material, or any weapons, whether homemade or otherwise.