IIO clears Williams Lake RCMP of wrongdoing in serious harm allegation

Independent Investigations Office of BC says injuries were not sustained during police custody

Williams Lake RCMP have been cleared by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of any wrongdoing into allegations a man was seriously injured while apprehended by police in October 2016.

In a seven-page report released Thursday, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald said an IIO investigation commenced after allegations from a complainant of “serious harm” by an officer.

The complainant, described as “AP” in the report, gave a statement to the IIO on Jan. 20, 2017, alleging that he had been put into a headlock by a police officer “Officer 1” for 30 seconds and during that time heard his neck crack.

Details in the report indicate there was an arrest at approximately 2:25 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2016 of an intoxicated male, AP, who was transported to the detachment and lodged in a cell.

Almost three hours later, AP became short of breath, was released and given a ride to the hospital by an officer.

The officer accompanied AP, who was able to walk unassisted, into the emergency department where medical personnel attended to him.

AP stopped breathing shortly after and was resuscitated by medical staff, however, AP was then found to have a broken neck, an injured spinal cord and is now disabled and unable to walk, the report noted.

The IIO said its investigation indicated there were many opportunities for AP to have been injured before the encounter with police that evening, that his medical records showed he suffered from a degenerative spinal condition for many years.

Video footage from the police station did not suggest feelings of ill-will between Officer 1 and AP that might be expected had there been a struggle between them.

MacDonald noted AP’s perception of what occurred as provided by his statements to the IIO were inconsistent with each other and other evidence collected.

“Officer 1 acted as required by his duties and in accordance with the law. The evidence does not provide grounds to consider any charges against any officer,” MacDonald stated.


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