IIO: cleared in broken bones

Police are not being blamed or charged in connection with a Kelowna man suffering two serious injuries while being arrested under the Mental Health Act.

A public report by the Independent Investigations Office was released Thursday after an incident at an undisclosed Kelowna residence on Dec. 1, 2017.

The man suffered fractures to his left tibial plateau and his left shoulder blade. 

The man’s mother and a mental health nurse arrived at the residence to find the man alone and believed he was having auditory hallucinations. IIO was told the six-foot-one, 300-pound man had a brain injury and mental disability.

“He was told he had to go either to his mother’s house or to the hospital, neither of which he wanted to do,” reads the report.

As he was about to leave with his mother, he stopped at the door and shouted that the nurse was “a member of the Shriners.” The nurse recounts that the man made a move towards her.

The nurse then called police and a crisis team through a 911 so that a mental health act apprehension could be made. This involved a police officer and a nurse trained for mental health calls.

About 20 minutes later, two uniformed officers arrived.

His mother says the officers “both were trying to be respectful and firm in their tones,” but her son still did not want to leave the apartment.

A third officer, part of the crisis team, arrived and decided with the other two officers they were going to bring the man, identified only as AP, out of the apartment.

The man later told IIO the officers harassed him verbally and physically, and he was "too out of it" to comprehend what they were trying to say.

"I was arrested eventually and cuffed …. Sitting against my fridge, they pushed me forward and they pulled my knee, and an officer broke it and bent it backwards on purpose," he said.

"One of the officers kicked back my shin, and started kicking it and shoving it.”

The man also told IIO that “not all of this is true, as I was kind of out of it, I’d been staying up for three days.”

The mother says her son was face down on the floor, and police appeared to have difficulty getting handcuffs on him. She heard him scream: "You can't do this, you have no right to touch me, this is my home, you're not going to take me to the psych ward... you broke my leg!"

A scuffle broke out, and an ambulance was called. The man was still very resistant, so a second ambulance crew was called to assist. The mother says her son tried to bite the paramedics when he was on the stretcher.

His mother said an officer said: “I’m sorry how that went down ... he’s a big guy (and) it was really tough handcuffing him… we didn’t want to tase him, we didn’t want to tase him in front of his mum.”

She added the officers were “trying their best to get (him) to the ground” and she did not believe they were trying to hurt him.

The third officer reported that the man was a threat to not only his own safety, but others' as well.

“It was apparent to him that (the man) was in a psychosis and seeing and hearing both auditory and visual hallucinations,” reads the report.

The IIO concludes that all three police officers were performing their duty by apprehending the man and that the mother and nurse made no allegations that police acted inappropriately.

A copy of the full report can be viewed here.

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