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HomeNews100 Mile HouseIndependent Investigations Office says reasonable force was used in Clinton arrest last...

Independent Investigations Office says reasonable force was used in Clinton arrest last year

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC has reached a conclusion in the matter of the serious harm of a male while being apprehended by members of the Clinton RCMP on February 23, 2020.

Clinton RCMP received a report of an impaired driver near 70 Mile House on February 23rd, 2020 at 4:42 PM. A witness called RCMP after seeing the driver consume drugs with a few other individuals outside a store, and said the group ‘seemed really high’.

According to the IIO report, a Witness Officer (WO1) located the truck a short time later, activated emergency lights and got out of the police vehicle. When WO1 approached the truck, three occupants were fumbling around inside. The Affected Person (AP) in the case looked at the officer and took off speeding northbound on the highway.

The IIO report says WO1 followed the AP for a short distance before pulling over rather than pursuing the truck as required by policy. The officer requested assistance from 100 Mile House RCMP and encountered the truck again later, but the truck drove away after seeing emergency lights. The officer requested assistance from an officer with a police service dog. WO1 was joined by another officer (Witness Officer 2 ‘WO2’) and drove to a residence where the AP was seen.

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The Subject Officer (SO1) in the report arrived with the Police Service Dog and tracked the AP to a porch in the area. It is reported that SO1 yelled commands at AP to come out from under the porch, but he did not come out or respond. The report states after multiple warnings with no response, SO1 directed the Police Service Dog to the area under the porch, where the dog grabbed AP by the arm and pulled him out from under the porch, SO1 applied handcuffs to AP and moved him to the police vehicle where he was given first aid for the dog bites.

AP had a different version of events from the officers present at the incident. AP says he did not see any police officer until the police service dog grabbed him on the arm and dragged him six feet out from under the porch.

The report says AP was taken to hospital and given treatment for the dog bites to his arm and hand that later required surgery.

The IIO investigated whether SO1 committed an offense by deploying the police service dog causing injury to the affected person. The report states a police service dog is considered an ‘intermediate weapon’ in the context of police use of force. BC Policing Standards permit the use of police service dogs for apprehending suspects, but “police dog bites must be minimized as much as reasonably possible and must be proportional to the risk posed to the handler and others”.

The investigation found all officers were acting lawfully in the execution of their duties when they responded to a public complaint of impaired driving which evolved into an arrest of AP. WO1 also stated SO1 yelled commands at AP to come out from under the porch, but didn’t and closed the porch door instead. The IIO determined AP knew the officers were present and attempting to arrest him. The IIO says it would have been risky for the officer to enter the unknown space under the porch in an attempt to arrest AP. The IIO determined it was both necessary and reasonable for AP to be obtained by a police service dog, and move him to where he could be handcuffed safely.

 

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