FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – A Fort St. John RCMP officer won’t be receiving any charges after a suspect was injured during an arrest in 2019.
The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) made the announcement Wednesday, stating the evidence doesn’t prove that the officer committed an offence.
On April 22nd, 2019, the officer attempted to detain the suspect while investigating reported thefts from vehicles, which led to a chase after the suspect ran away. The suspect allegedly appeared to have a weapon and refused to listen once the officer located him. The suspect was handcuffed after three more officers arrived and sustained head injuries during the arrest.
“Based on the available evidence, the BCPS is not able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer committed any offence in relation to the incident. As a result, no charges have been approved,” states the BCPS release.
In Clear Statement from the BCPS, a struggle ensued when the officer tried to arrest the suspect. The officer punched the suspect, who was facedown, in the head and ribs while he was on the ground to gain control of his arms as they were under his body near his waist. Once the other officers arrived, the suspect was still refusing to be handcuffed. Eventually, the officers got control of his arms. The third officer also hit the suspect “once or twice”. The suspect kept refusing to comply even after being handcuffed.
“A CT scan of the suspect’s head found bruising and hemorrhaging around the right cheek and eye, slightly depressed fractures and comminuted fractures of the wall and orbit around the right eye, and a tilted tooth with root lying outside the bone,” says the Clear Statement.
The statement summarizes the evidence and applicable legal principles to assist the BCPS’s decision. The document included statements from the four officers, the suspect, and two witnesses of the incident.
An initial investigation was conducted by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) before the North District RCMP eventually took over the investigation and submitted a Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) for review by the BCPS concerning the actions of the initial officer on scene.
Crown Counsel conducted the charge assessment with no prior or current connection to any of the officers involved in the incident.
For the full document sent out by the BCPS, which includes an incident summary, detailed accounts from witnesses, and legal implications reviewed, click here.