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Vanderhoof RCMP members acted properly in man’s arrest: Independent Investigations Office

Police watchdog concludes investigation
The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) investigates officer-involved incidents that result in death or serious harm. (File photo)

No criminal charges are recommended against Vanderhoof RCMP officers after a man was injured while being apprehended earlier this year.

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIOBC) concluded its investigation, releasing a decision on the incident Friday, Nov. 5.

Vanderhoof RCMP were called to conduct a well-being check at a residence on February 13, 2021 after receiving a 911 call reporting concerns related to a female’s safety.

There is a history of domestic violence at the residence, IIOBC chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald noted in his report.

The man, on court conditions related to a previous domestic matter, was not to have any contact with CW1 (civilian witness 1) and CW2 (civilian witness 2) except with prior consent and that he must stop all contact upon request. He was believed to be present at the residence with CW1 and CW2.

Upon attendance, RCMP observed his vehicles parked in the driveway and found the rear door of the residence ajar.

According to MacDonald’s report, CW1 and CW2 requested police not to enter the residence and denied the man was present.

RCMP began clearing the residence for safety purposes and found him hiding between the bed and the wall.

An officer attempted to detain him, but he resisted, and an altercation ensued, MacDonald wrote. The officer sounded a tone alert over the radio at some point during the conflict, indicating they were in danger.

The man was transported to Vanderhoof RCMP cells where Emergency Health Services attended, taking him to hospital where he was found to have a fracture on his cheek near his eye socket.

“Police officers have a duty to protect life,” MacDonald said in the report.

“When the police received a call to check on CW1’s welfare in a residence associated to violence, they appropriately acted quickly and entered the home to check on CW1. The officers needed to clear the residence for safety purposes to make sure everyone was okay and were acting lawfully when doing so.”

MacDonald found the arresting officer had acted lawfully when he detained the man for further investigation.

The report noted, that the arresting officer was put in a dangerous situation as he was accompanied by only one other officer, and responding to a call where there were three persons present and a previous history of violence.

The arresting officer was also operating in a confined space with an aggressive male not complying with reasonable police direction, as stated in the report.

MacDonald said while, if possible, it is preferable that police avoid blows to the head when attempting to control an individual, however, he said given the circumstances it cannot be said that the officer’s actions were unreasonable.

“Accordingly, as the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO, I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges,” MacDonald wrote in his report.

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