B.C. prosecutors decline to lay charges against Mounties who shot Jared Lowndes

Mounties won't be charged

The British Columbia Prosecution Service says it has decided not to lay charges against three Mounties involved in the July 2021 shooting death of a 38-year-old Wet’suwet’en father in Campbell River. 

The service says in a statement released Tuesday that the “available evidence” wouldn’t suffice to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the three Campbell River RCMP officers “committed any offence” related to the Jared Lowndes’s death. 

The service’s overview of the case says an officer had stopped to look into a suspicious car that was parked near the city, and a query of the vehicle’s licence plate turned up Lowndes’s name and an outstanding arrest warrant. 

The statement says Lowndes took off when the officer approached, then reversed his vehicle, an Audi, into the police car. 

It says officers found the man at a Campbell River drive-thru. Officers used three vehicles to try to block his vehicle, but Lowndes quickly reversed out of the drive-thru lane and sped through the parking lot. 

Police were able to block his vehicle and several officers approached Lowndes with guns drawn, the statement says. Lowndes discharged “a large amount” of bear spray at the officers, who retreated. 

One of the officers retrieved a police dog known as Gator from a police vehicle and lifted him into the Audi. The statement says Lowndes grabbed a knife from the passenger seat and started stabbing the dog. The officer reached in and was also stabbed, resulting in cuts and wounds on the officer’s left hand. 

A standoff ensued, with one officer climbing on top of a police vehicle and “aiming their firearm down at Mr. Lowndes through the front windshield while continuing to yell commands,” the statement says. 

Lowndes could be heard saying things to the effect of “You’re going to have to f—-ing kill me,” a summary of the evidence says. 

A Taser was used, but Lowndes used the knife to cut away the wires. 

He them moved to the passenger side of the vehicle, opened the door and pushed out Gator, who died of his injuries. Lowndes, still holding the knife, got out of the vehicle, still yelling “shoot me, kill me.” 

Two officers fired at him. Lowndes was shot twice in the back and died at the scene. 

Though B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office had suggested the service may want to consider manslaughter charges against one officer and assault charges against the others, the prosecution service says it would be unable to prove the force used was unreasonable or disproportionate. 

Laura Holland, Lowndes’s mother, says she will continue to seek justice for her son. 

“It has been 1,020 days that I have waited to hear what proposed charges might be, and there are none,” Holland told CHEK News. “This doesn’t end here. It’s not over. It’s time for Canada to stop protecting their gunmen who have been slaughtering our people for decades, centuries.” 

Holland says she will continue to pursue this through various means. 

“I will continue to fight for justice for Jared, I will continue to fight for justice for all Indigenous people who have been killed,” she said. 

“If it means we need an inquiry into why they’re doing this, and if it means we need an inquiry to change some of the policies and procedures at the B.C. prosecution officer says they’re bound by, if we need to continue to address systemic racism, we will do that.” 

— With files from the Times Colonist 

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