B.C.’s police watchdog is asking Crown to consider charges against an RCMP officer in relation to an arrest which was captured on video last year in Williams Lake.
The video, which went viral online, showed Tyrell Giroux being arrested by officers Oct. 25, 2020 along the highway in Williams Lake following an alleged vehicle chase stretching from Kamloops.
The arrest video, taken by a passing motorist who yelled at police to stop, drew intense public scrutiny at the time. Public reaction to the video was also the reason Mounties requested that the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC consider seeking direction from the Director of Police Services for an independent investigation of the incident.
“Upon completion of the investigation, Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC, reviewed the evidence and determined that reasonable grounds exist to believe that one of the involved officers may have committed an offence in relation to the use of force during the arrest,” stated the IIO in a news release.
Giroux was arrested after his vehicle was eventually stopped on Highway 97 near White Road in Williams Lake, and he exited the vehicle and went down a nearby embankment before stopping. Two officers followed and an interaction occurred before the man was taken into custody.
“The injuries the man sustained do not meet the required threshold for serious harm, as defined by the Police Act. However, given the significant public scrutiny generated by video captured of the arrest, the Director of Police Services ordered an IIO investigation pursuant to s.44 of the Police Act at the request of the RCMP.”
“As a result, the IIO has forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.”
Shortly following the arrest last year, the Tsilhqot’in National Government called for an independent investigation and the immediate suspension of the officers involved in the arrest of the suspect, who is Indigenous.
Chief Superintendent Warren Brown (North District RCMP Commander) also issued a statement at the time, describing parts of the chase as “an extremely dangerous and life threatening situation” and that officers thought the suspect could be armed.
“Following a preliminary review, we can say that the civilian video, while it captures part of the arrest, does not provide the full-scope of the arrest and provides no context with respect to what precipitated the arrest. What is captured by the civilian video was the culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident, that put the lives of the public and police in several communities, in jeopardy,” Brown said at the time.
Giroux, meanwhile, did spend some time in custody before being released to a residential treatment facility after being charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle, flight from police, wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer and driving while disqualified. His next court date is Oct. 20, 2021 in Williams Lake Provincial Court.
In order to approve any charges, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution be required in the public interest.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.