The BC RCMP’s watchdog concluded that a 2018 arrest in Chilliwack involving a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) that led to a fatality was “reasonable” and that there was no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force.
The head of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) will not be recommending charges against any of the officers to Crown counsel, according to a report issued Jan. 22.
David Meadows died of “methamphetamine toxicity” while struggling with police, according to the IIO report, a deadly heart event connected to the street drug.
“The exertion of the struggle with police and discharge of the CEW may have helped to precipitate the fatal heart problem.”
It was Feb. 24, 2018 when Meadows was at a supervised visit with his four-year-old daughter at Seasons Mediation and Family Services on Vedder Road.
#RCMP watchdog finds officer' use of Taser in #Chilliwack arrest that led to a man's death on Feb. 23, 2018 was reasonable. "There is no evidence to suggest that any of the officers used excessive or disproportionate." Story to come…
— Paul J. Henderson (@PeeJayAitch) January 22, 2019
Candi Meadows, the child’s mother, said she was concerned that he was still using drugs, but she had to drop the young girl off because of a court order allowing David a minimum of two hours a week of supervised visits.
“I didn’t want to drop her off anymore because I knew he was still using [drugs],” Meadows told The Progress soon after the incident last year.
A previous visit had gone well, but this time David fled with the young girl some time around 2 p.m. Witnesses say the 42-year-old ran out into traffic carrying the girl at least twice crossing Vedder Road.
The IIO report included statements from numerous civilian witnesses and officers on scene. There was also some evidence of what transpired taken from nearby security footage from businesses.
As David Meadows was carrying the girl, one civilian grabbed him and another grabbed the girl. The first officer to arrive soon after this was the Mountie who deployed the CEW. He declined to provide a statement to the IIO, something he or she was allowed to do pursuant to an agreement between the IIO and B.C. police agencies.
Other officers did give statements all of which was consistent with what civilian witnesses provided.
Essentially, Meadows approached the officers with his hands up, was brought to the ground but that’s when he started to fight back. He knocked one officer down by kicking, was said to be trying to bite an officer, and “seemed to be unusually strong,” something one officer attributed to the influence of drugs.
When the first officer deployed the CEW, the first time it had no effect. The second time, a witness described what he or she saw and heard. The witness said there was “a crackling noise similar to either a cap gun or two rocks smashing into each other.”
Meanwhile, Meadows was on the ground and began to say “ow, ow, ow” and tried to get up. His face then went blank and he went red. As other officers arrived, CPR was commenced. Then paramedics showed up, he was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead.
The IIO said Meadows had no injuries consistent with the use of force by officers, and toxicology showed a toxic level of methamphetamine in his blood, as well as metabolites of fentanyl and cocaine.
The IIO report concluded the use of physical restraint was reasonable in the circumstances.