A Prince Rupert police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing following in an Independent Investigation Office (IIO) investigation.
The decision, issued Jan. 18, by the police watchdog organization stemmed from a May 29, 2020 incident where a female, referred to in the report as the “affected person”, (AP) was placed under arrest due to alleged breach of court-ordered conditions.
“During the interaction, AP fell down a steep incline and was seriously injured,” Ronald J. MacDonald, chief civilian director, said in his written decision.
The report stipulated that the “subject officer” immediately called for an ambulance and ran to assist AP.
“Responding officers found AP in a ditch at the bottom of the slope, estimated to be about 25 metres (80 ft.) below the dropoff, lying on her back on an upturned shopping trolley,” MacDonald said. “She was able to get up and walk a few steps, but she collapsed. She was taken to hospital where she was found to have a serious head injury, many broken ribs, and nerve damage in her limbs.”
According to AP’s own recollection, was that she had been having a ‘few drinks’ with some friends and acknowledges she was out past her court-ordered curfew. She said she recalled a female officer telling her she was under arrested.
“I’m not a small person. I was having a hard time getting up. I think she thought I was messing around. I got up and was kind of staggering and she turned around to put the cuffs on me and I tripped, ” AP said. “I was wearing like these stupid rubber sandals and the cement isn’t very straight and I tripped and went over. I think I was not so close to the edge that if she had not let go, I would not have fallen.”
A second witness officer (WO1) reported that the incident was from an “assaultive act” against SO, however, AP said it was a drunken accident.
Apart from the two police officers and AP, the only other witness was a male who said he had no memory of the incident due to the level of his own intoxication.
The purpose of an IIO investigation, the report stated, is to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer, through action or inaction, may have committed an offence in relation to an incident resulting in serious harm or death.
“More specifically the issue to be considered in this case is whether any officer may have committed an offence in deliberately causing AP’s fall,” Macdonald said.
The report’s the are that the attending police officers were acting in lawful execution of their duty by investigating individuals suspected of consuming liquor and/or drugs in a public place.
“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 … the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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