B.C.'s civilian-based police watchdog has cleared a Prince George RCMP officer of wrongdoing in relation to a chase that ended with a youth being struck by a vehicle.
In a decision issued Thursday, Independent Investigations Office chief civilian director Ron MacDonald found that while the officer's actions may have indirectly caused the youth to choose to run into traffic, the officer "did not at any time act unreasonably or without lawful justification."
The outcome stems from a May 14 incident at Exhibition Park when West Coast Amusements was in the city. The officer had responded to a complaint from security staff that the youth had been in a fight and was carrying a weapon.
The security person later told IIO investigators that when the officer approached the youth, he immediately turned to walk away, then ran and dropped a softball-sized rock from his pocket after the officer grabbed him by the wrist.
The officer chased the youth for 100 to 150 yards through an area filled with parked trucks until he lost sight of him. About 30 seconds later, the officer radioed dispatch to say the youth just got hit by a car.
One driver managed to brake and avoid hitting the youth but he kept going and was struck by a second vehicle and thrown onto the grassy median. The youth suffered fractures to a hip and knee.
The youth had consumed enough vodka and coolers to record a blood-alcohol level about 1 1/2 times the legal limit for driving in Canada, MacDonald noted.
In all, IIO investigators collected statements from 14 people, including the youth and two police officers.