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Prince George RCMP officers cleared after investigation

Suspect was driving stolen truck when police converged on him and two women in a rural lot on July 30, 2020
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO)

Following a three-year investigation, the BC Prosecution Service has determined that no charges will be approved against Prince George RCMP officers involved in the arrest of a man who fled from police after allegations of break and enter on July 30, 2020 near Prince George.

That evening, police converged on a lot in the 1400 block of Old Cariboo Highway where three suspects, a man and two women, had been spotted driving a truck with Alberta licence plates that had been reported stolen after the keys were grabbed in a break-and-enter the previous day from a private residence in Hinton, Alta. Witnesses said the truck was being driven erratically in the lot with its alarm triggered and saw the three suspects leave the vehicle.

One of the women was arrested on the highway and the other woman and the man fled on foot into a wooded swampy area. Two RCMP officers and a police dog went after them and shortly after arrested the man, who was wet from head to toe.

A search revealed he was carrying methamphetamine and two folding pocket knives.  

The second female was later located and arrested at a nearby gas station.

They were brought to the Prince George detachment cells, where Emergency Health Services determined the man should be brought to hospital because of his head injuries.

It was later determined the man had a broken orbital bone, subdural hematoma (buildup of blood around the brain), fractured cheek and nose, significant soft tissue damage and swelling, abrasions on arms and puncture wounds (from the dog) on his arm, back, and left flank. He spent a week in hospital recovering from his injuries.

As a consequence of those injuries, the incident was investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), which determined there were reasonable grounds to believe two officers may have committed an assault.

In the investigation several days later, the man admitted he had consumed drugs and a urine test found methamphetamine, amphetamine, opioids, and fentanyl in his system.

He told IIO investigators he had tried to get away from police by jumping in the pond but said he could not swim and when he realized it was too deep he turned back towards the officers and laid down as they had requested.

He said at that point that the officers released the dog on him and began striking him in the head. He claimed the dog handler kicked him in the head one or two times and that the other officer struck him in the face about 20 times over a period of a few minutes. He said he was then handcuffed and dragged out of the bush by one of the officers over uneven ground.

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