No charges recommended against RCMP officer involved in Port Hardy arrest

Independent Investigations Office investigated incident in which intoxicated male broke ankle

A Port Hardy RCMP officer will not face any charges after a January, 2019 arrest of a man who broke his ankle during the incident.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. released a report Tuesday saying the Jan. 15 arrest was lawful and the RCMP officer involved used force that was justified and appropriate.

“I do not consider that any officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges,” Ronald J. MacDonald, IIO Chief Civilian Director, wrote in his April 2 report.

The investigation arose from an incident on Jan. 15 in Port Hardy in which the police responded to a call from a resident at an apartment building alleging disruptive behaviour on the part of an intoxicated male who was not named in the report. The male was reported to have been yelling and throwing chairs. Two officers attended the call where the perpetrator was in a home with a group of several other intoxicated people.

RELATED: Police watchdog probe ‘intoxicated’ man injured in Port Hardy RCMP custody

One of the officers – the “subject officer” of the investigation who was not named – told the aggressive individual that he was under arrest for breach of the peace. That didn’t calm the individual down, however, and he continued to shout and swear loudly. The officer reported that the perpetrator approached the officer waving his arms with fists clenched. The Mountie testified that he took the arrestee “to the floor using an ‘armbar’ and handcuffed him, telling him he was now under arrest for resisting arrest,” the IIO report says.

The arrestee admitted to behaving in a manner that could have been called “aggressiveness” but “it wasn’t … I don’t know what I thought … like I said, I was drunk.”

The other officer on the call had been outside at this point dealing with another man and was called in to assist the first Mountie who then got the intoxicated male to his feet and walked him out of the residence. According to the second officer, the arrested man was unsteady but he attributed that to intoxication, rather than injury. Witnesses in the room said that the drunk man did not appear to be injured when he left with police.

The man was placed in the RCMP cells where his injury was soon observed. His ankle was swelling and he asked to see a doctor but medical staff were not available at the local hospital until the morning.

A third officer began his shift the next morning and found the arrested individual sufficiently sober to be released and offered to take him to the hospital. The man first agreed and then declined, preferring to go home. Later that morning he was taken to hospital via ambulance from his home.

He was diagnosed with a broken right ankle which was subsequently repaired by surgery.

During the investigation by IIO personnel, the injured man was unable to determine when or how he broke his leg. From the apartment door to the front door, he was fine, he told investigators, but from front door to the police vehicle was all “a blackout.” When he arrived at the cells he said he had a limp and his ankle was throbbing and swelling.

He speculated that he had injured his ankle on the way to the police vehicle or that the arresting officer might have closed the vehicle door on his ankle but there is no evidence to support or contradict that speculation, the IIO report says. The takedown by the arresting officer is the only evidence of an incident which could have caused the injury.

The purpose of any IIO investigation is to determine whether an officer, through an action or inaction, may have committed any offence in relation to the incident that led to the injury of the intoxicated male.

“A police officer who is acting as required or authorized by law is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do, and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose,” the report says. “In this case, the issue is not the amount or nature of the force used by SO (subject officer), which appears to have been moderate, but whether the officer was acting lawfully in the execution of his duty in arresting AP, initially, for breach of the peace.”

The investigator concludes that “the arrest was lawful and there is no evidence that SO’s use of force was other than justified and proportional.”

RELATED: B.C. RCMP officer charged after elderly woman struck by police vehicle

RELATED: Man shot by police during arrest in Okanagan


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students will be going back to school full time in the fall in ‘learning groups’

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to submit back-to-school plan to ministry in August

LMS hosts virtual Kids’ Pirate Event in late August

Kids’ Pirate Event will feature five days of online content

Milestone Equipment Contracting on the job of Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade

Project intricacies will now start to take shape in the weeks ahead

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Most Read