Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Posting
Surrey, B.C. – The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has now forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for their consideration of charges.
Following the IIO’s information bulletin on July 16, 2019, advising that this matter would be referred to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS), additional lines of inquiry were identified and followed. This work has now been completed and, in consultation with Crown Counsel, has been incorporated into an expanded file. Today, the IIO confirms that this investigative file has now been disclosed to BCPS.
Information provided by the RCMP indicates that on July 18, 2017 at approximately 10:30 p.m., officers responded to a call of a male alleged to be casing parked vehicles in the 1000-block of Central Street West in Prince George.
When an officer attempted to question the male, he allegedly attempted to flee on a bicycle. While attempting to take the man into custody, a struggle ensued between him and the officer and additional officers then arrived. OC (pepper) spray was used. The male appeared to be having trouble breathing and police requested medical assistance. Officers reported that the male was removed from the police vehicle when Emergency Health Services (EHS) arrived, and collapsed. The male was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.
Upon completion of the investigation, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC has determined that reasonable grounds exist to believe that two officers may have committed offences in relation to use of force, and three others may have committed offences regarding obstruction of justice. As a result, and pursuant to Section 38.11 of the Police Act, the IIO has forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of potential charges.
In order to approve the charges, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution is required in the public interest.
While the matter is with the Crown, the IIO will not be making any additional comment about the facts of this case.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.