Police watchdog recommends charges for Central Okanagan cop

Charges suggested for cop

B.C.’s police watchdog has recommended criminal charges against a Central Okanagan Mountie for his involvement in a police chase and shooting over the holidays last year. 

The Independent Investigation Office of B.C. says RCMP told them that on Dec. 22, 2019 at 12:10 a.m., an officer tried to stop a vehicle on Highway 97 in Kelowna.

The pickup truck did not stop and turned off the highway onto residential streets. 

The officer pursued and when they reached a dead-end street, on Highland Drive North near Jack Robertson Park, “an interaction occurred” between the man and officer, resulting in shots being fired by the Mountie. 

The man involved was taken to hospital with serious injuries. 

The IIO’s chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC, said in a news release Wednesday “that reasonable grounds exist to believe that an officer may have committed offences in relation to the pursuit and use of a firearm.”

As a result, the IIO forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of potential charges.

In the hours after the incident, a witness told Castanet she was outside her home on Highland Drive South when she heard a commotion around midnight.

"I was sitting out there having a smoke and I heard the sirens and then I was looking for them, because it's a quiet neighbourhood."

She said she saw a truck on Highland Drive North appear like it was trying to turn around in the cul-de-sac.

"Then the cop — I can hear him and see him kind of out of his vehicle — I heard him say, 'stop right there' then the truck went forward and I heard two shots, bang-bang, I was like is that real?," the witness said.

In order to approve the charges, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution is required in the public interest.

The BC RCMP says the officer involved in the incident was assigned to Central Okanagan Traffic Services and did not work out of the primary Kelowna detachment.

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