Charges to be considered after caught-on-camera arrest leads to 'significant public scrutiny': police watchdog
Warning: Some viewers may find the content in the video disturbing
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s police watchdog has filed a report asking for charges to be considered against an officer following a caught-on-camera arrest that led to public scrutiny.
The Independent Investigations Office issued a statement Thursday about an incident that happened nearly a year ago. On Oct. 25, 2020, a man was arrested following what the IIO says was "a lengthy incident of alleged dangerous driving between Kamloops and Williams Lake."
The IIO's report says the driver was eventually stopped on Highway 97 near White Road. When he got out of the car, he went down an embankment. Two officers followed and "an interaction occurred" before the man was arrested.
CTV News Vancouver reported on the incident shortly after it happened. A passerby witnessed the arrest and filmed it.
In the video, as one officer arrests the man, another can be seen kicking and punching him repeatedly while he's face-down in the snow. At that point, the witness begins yelling at police: "Hey, stop that! We're filming this. You're being filmed."
At the time, Mounties said the witness video lacked context, and that the arrest "was the culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident that put the lives of the public and police in several communities in jeopardy."
Mounties also said at the time the suspect wasn't physically injured and the IIO's update acknowledged the man's injuries didn't meet its "required threshold for serious harm."
"However, given the significant public scrutiny generated by video captured of the arrest, the director of police services ordered an IIO investigation," the IIO's statement said.
After looking into the incident, the IIO's chief civilian director determined "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." The matter has now been forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service for charges to be considered.
The IIO is tasked with investigating all incidents involving police officers in B.C. that result in death or serious injury to a member of the public, regardless of whether there is an allegation of wrongdoing on the part of police.
The prosecution service will only approve charges if there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the IIO's evidence, and if the charges are determined to be in the public interest, the IIO said.