Daughter speaks out after Mounties charged in death of Indigenous man in Prince George
CTV News has learned that four of five RCMP officers facing charges in the death of an Indigenous man during an arrest in Prince George are still on active duty.
35-year-old Dale Culver went into medical distress after being tackled to the ground and pepper-sprayed by officers as he exited a store in July of 2017.
Grainy cell phone video shot in the dark by witnesses shows several people in a scuffle on the ground as more RCMP vehicles arrive with their lights and sirens activated.
After Culver complained of shortness of breath when placed in an RCMP cruiser, paramedics were called, but he would die in hospital a short time later.
"We see these continued occurrences in Canada where racialized people, especially First Nations people, get killed or harmed in grievous ways,” said Meghan McDermott of the BC Civil Liberties Association.
More than five and a half years after Culver lost his life that night in Prince George, two Mounties have been charged with manslaughter and three others face charges of attempting to obstruct justice for allegedly trying to delete cell phone video shot by witnesses.
Lily Speed-Namox, Culver’s oldest daughter, was 14 at the time of her father’s death.
The now-20-year-old carries some of her father’s cremated ashes in a necklace around her neck.
"I literally and figuratively carry him in my heart,” Speed-Namox said. "So, part of him did, I guess, get to see me graduate. It would have been nice to actually have him there, but it was good to know he was there with me in spirit."
While she’s happy to learn of the charges against the officers involved, she is disappointed in the length of time it has taken the justice system to get to this point.
The Independent Investigations Office, B.C.’s civilian body responsible for police oversight, first delivered a report to Crown recommending charges in July of 2019.
"I hope no other family has to wait this long for justice for their family member. In any other circumstances, if the roles were reversed, it wouldn't have taken this long,” Speed-Namox said.
Culver’s son was four years old at the time of his death, and his youngest daughter was just six months old.
Speed-Namox is grateful for the cherished memories of her father that she carries with her, but devastated for her younger siblings.
"It's sad that I won't be able to have any of those anymore,” she said. “And my little sister will never get to experience that and my little brother probably won't remember any experiences he did have like that."
Constables Paul Ste-Marie and Jean Francois Monette are charged with manslaughter.
Constables Arthur Dalman and Clarence MacDonald, along with Sgt. Bayani Cruz, stand accused of attempting to obstruct justice.
BC RCMP says Macdonald is on administrative leave for reasons unrelated to the events surrounding Culver’s death and the other four continue to serve in operational active duty roles.
“Their duty status is subject to continuous assessment,” BC RCMP said in a statement. “The RCMP is also seeking to obtain additional information in order to inform our internal processes."
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