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Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of Williams Lake officers in rough arrest

Arrest investigation sought

The Tsilhqot’in Nation is calling for an independent investigation and immediate suspension of Williams Lake RCMP officers captured in a widely shared video showing a controversial takedown and arrest.

The footage, which has more than 4,000 shares since being posted Sunday, shows a Mountie attempting to subdue a male suspect, who is believed to be Indigenous. Another RCMP officer arrives and appears to kick and punch the suspect.

As her father drove past the unfolding incident, Charli Fortier of the Simpcw First Nation hastily filmed the officers.

“Unfortunately, the threat of the unwarranted, unnecessary violence from the RCMP is a reality that Indigenous peoples face,” Tsilhqot’in tribal chair Chief Joe Alphonse said in a Oct. 26 news release.

“We demand a full, independent investigation into this incident and the immediate suspension of the officers that were involved, and we will not rest until there is accountability for this incident and an end to police brutality against Indigenous peoples.”

Upon learning of the arrest, North District RCMP commander Chief Supt. Warren Brown announced that a review of the incident has been launched.

He added a code of conduct investigation has also been launched by Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley.

“Following a preliminary review, we can say that the civilian video, while it captures part of the arrest, does not provide the full-scope of the arrest and provides no context with respect to what precipitated the arrest,” Brown said.

The suspect was arrested without incident following a ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase near Williams Lake.

Tyrell Giroux, 29, remains in custody, and faces charges including dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

The Independent Civilian Review and Complaints for the RCMP confirmed it has received one complaint in regards to the video.



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