Investigation clears Vernon RCMP in arrest in which man was injured

Cops not at fault for injury

An investigation has found Vernon RCMP officers acted properly during an arrest in which a man was injured.

The Independent Investigations Office of BC looked into the May 16, 2020, incident, when members responded to a 911 call from a woman reporting a domestic incident involving death threats.

The woman was “hysterical and crying” when police arrived, according to the IIO report.

In a statement to police shortly after the incident, the woman said her partner made death threats against her, her family, and her dog.

“I was just scared outta my mind, not sure what he was gonna do with all the threats,” she said.

Several officers responded to the scene and placed the suspect in handcuffs without incident.

However, when speaking with IIO investigators at a later date, the woman recanted her story about the threats.

But, investigators found her later statement inconsistent with one from a neighbour who heard yelling and the woman tell the man to “get his hands off her.”

In the later interview, the woman also complained police slammed her partner to the ground for no reason, but again the statement was determined to be inconsistent with witness reports of the incident.

“All attending officers were clearly acting in lawful execution of their duty when they entered the residence to effect a warrantless arrest .... The 911 call and and the woman's allegations provided reasonable and probable grounds to believe (the suspect) had committed an assault and/or the offence of uttering death threats,” the report concluded.

“The available police evidence is that (the man) provoked the physical altercation by standing up, refusing to sit back down and then becoming actively resistant.

“It is unclear whether the struggle went to the floor simply by accident, as a result of (the man) pulling away and the officers attempting to hold onto him, or because (an officer) caused (the man) to lose balance by grabbing his leg, as (the officer) describes in his written statement.”

Even if taking the suspect to the ground was intentional “in order to gain control, that manoeuvre in the circumstances was not an unreasonable use of force. Even though (the man) was handcuffed he was still mobile. The risk of violence from him, and with it a risk of harm to the officers or of damage to the woman's home, still existed,” the report states.

The man injured his shoulder during the incident.

“There is no suggestion that any further force was used by any officer.”

More Vernon News