British Columbia Prosecutors & the IIO should be ashamed of themselves for even the thought of charges. Beyond a routine investigation regarding the violent offender's arrest, the issue should have been terminated.
Having assisted in similar arrests, fleeing officers and/or resisting arrest terminates all restrictions on Member defensive tactics.
Prosecutors have decided not to press charges against a Mountie involved in a violent arrest near 100 Mile House in October 2020.
The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Tuesday that no charges have been approved against an RCMP officer who landed several punches as he and another officer struggled to place a man in handcuffs after a high-speed chase.
The man later reported being seriously injured and the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. filed a report to Crown prosecutors recommending that a charge of assault be considered against the Mountie.
But in a statement explaining why charges won't be laid, prosecutors outline evidence from the suspect, officers, witnesses and video indicating the man was refusing to follow police orders during the arrest attempt, and the amount of force applied wasn't unreasonable under the high-stress circumstances.
The prosecutors concluded that evidence didn't meet the standard to press charges and to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force was excessive.
The incident began on the morning of Oct. 25, 2020, when Clinton RCMP were notified about a silver Chevrolet pickup driving erratically and passing four vehicles around a blind corner on Highway 97, barely missing an oncoming car.
An officer from 100 Mile House tried to pull over the pickup shortly before 9:30 a.m., but it fled north on Highway 97 toward Williams Lake. Another officer also tried to stop the truck, but it fled again and neither went in pursuit.
That's when officers learned the pickup had been linked to the drug trade.
The Chevy was spotted by another officer on the highway near Maze Lake Road. The officer followed as it approached Amarillo Road in 150 Mile House, where the officer who was the subject of the investigation had set up a check stop.
He was standing in the road beside his vehicle when the pickup pulled out and accelerated toward him. The Mountie drew his gun and pointed it at the truck as it sped past, barely missing him.
The driver continued to speed with “little apparent regard for other vehicles or police,” according to the prosecution service statement.
The truck blew through four spike belts and was driving on all four rims when the suspect finally lost control and got stuck on an embankment. He ran down the embankment with an officer in pursuit.
The suspect was initially compliant, dropping to his knees facing away from the highway. The officer pushed him face down and tried to put him in handcuffs. But the man tucked both hands under his body and ignored commands to put them out so they could be cuffed, and resisted the officer's efforts to control his arms.
Much of this action was recorded on one of the officers' dashcams and by witnesses using cellphones.
The videos show the officer who was investigated running to the scene, stamping once with force on the man's back and hip and briefly stepping or pushing on the man's head with his foot.
“He then struck the (man) with a closed fist four times in the left upper body and back area,” said the statement, which indicated that use of force was considered by the IIO report as a potential assault. The other officer got control of the man's right arm at that point and he was cuffed and taken to the local detachment.
The man refused medical help both at the scene and at the RCMP detachment, according to the prosecution service. He was charged with dangerous driving, flight from police, obstructing an officer and prohibited driving.
“Although he later complained of injuries, including bruising and swelling, suffered during the arrest, these injuries are not apparent in photos taken at the time,” said the statement. An assessment at Cariboo Memorial Hospital the next day made no mention of bruising and swelling.
Crown counsel with no prior connection to anyone involved in the arrest said the evidence did not show that the blows were excessive force given the man's resistance to being cuffed and given that one of the officers was worried the suspect might have a weapon on him.
The officer who took the man to the ground said he was concerned he might be reaching for a knife when he pulled his arms under his body. He said he was worried about his safety and was having a hard time making the arrest when the other officer arrived to help.
The Crown noted that the law doesn't require the “minimum possible force necessary,” only that it be used “within a reasonable range of force options.”
Evidence suggests the suspect was “actively resisting officers' attempts to handcuff him at the point at which the (officer) administered the blows.” That would make the Crown's case difficult to prove because force was legally justified in the moment, according to prosecutors.
Factors in the officer's favour include the fact the pickup was searched 10 days earlier by Kamloops RCMP and a loaded handgun, mask and knife were seized; the reckless, high-speed driving during the lengthy highway pursuit, despite having all four tires blown out by spike belts; the willingness of the suspect to endanger officers and the public with dangerous driving; the fact the suspect tucked his arms into his body against police orders; and the concerns of one officer that the suspect might have a weapon.
ANOTHER MEMBER WHO SUFFERED SIMILARLY FROM THE IGNORANCE OF THE IIO AND B.C. PROSECUTORS AND SEVERAL OTHER CURRENTLY SERVING MOUNTIES CONTRIBUTED TO "VANCOUVER SECRETS" WHERE THEIR CHARACTERS' DIALOG WAS THERAPUTIC.
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