A police officer in Williams Lake has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an incident where a man, who was taken into custody, suffered serious injuries.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. was called in to look into an incident on October 28th of 2016.
The report from the investigation shows that a man was arrested at 2-25 a.m. for public intoxication and was taken to the detachment where he was booked and put in a cell until three hours later when he complained that he was having problems breathing.
He was then taken to hospital where he walked in unassisted and medical personnel attended to him.
The report says he then stopped breathing and while he was resuscitated, he was found to have a broken neck, an injured spinal cord and is now disabled and unable to walk.
The IIOC says medical records indicated that the man had suffered from a degenerative spinal condition for many years.
His blood alcohol concentration was described as six times the provincial limit for driving.
Police say they were told by witnesses that prior to his arrest the man was involved in a fight, something RCMP say the man later relayed to them in November from Kamloops where he transferred to for treatment.
One witness described a man lying in the fetal position on the pavement at the bottom of a staircase.
However, during an interview with the IIOC in January of 2017, the man said that a police officer broke his neck by putting him in a headlock.
At that time he also told them that he wasn’t in a fight that night and that he hadn’t fallen.
The IIOC says the man also told them that it was a short officer who got him in a headlock, however, noting that the arresting officer was several inches taller than him.
That inconsistency, as well as others, was noted in the IIOC’s final report exonerating the arresting officer.
It also questioned why the man didn’t mention the headlock to the medical staff or to anyone that night.