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Watchdog report on death in Prince George forwarded for consideration of charges against Mounties
Dale Culver is seen in this undated image.
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s police watchdog has forwarded a report to the prosecution for consideration of charges against five RCMP officers involved in an fatal incident in 2017.
In an update posted Friday, the Independent Investigations Office said a report had been forwarded to the B.C. Prosecution Service for consideration of potential charges.
The IIO posted a summary of the case, which relates to a death nearly three years ago.
Members of the RCMP told IIO investigators they'd been called to Central Street West in Prince George the night of July 18, 2017.
Officers were called in for reports that a man appeared to be "casing" vehicles on the street, the IIO bulletin said.
An officer went to question the man, who then tried to flee on a bike, the RCMP told the IIO.
There was a struggle while officers tried to arrest him, and more Mounties were called to the area.
Police say pepper spray was used, and the man appeared to be having trouble breathing.
The officers say they then called for medical assistance, and the man was taken out of a police car when Emergency Health Services arrived.
He then collapsed, and was pronounced dead a short time later, the IIO says.
He was previously identified as Dale Culver, a 35-year-old father of three and member of the Wet'suwet'en Nation.
Few details were provided in Friday's update about what is believed to have happened, but the watchdog's chief civilian officer says he's determined "reasonable grounds exist to believe that two officers may have committed offences in relation to use of force."
Ron MacDonald said three others at the scene at the time may have committed offences relating to obstruction of justice.
The report did not outline what they're alleged to have done, but MacDonald said in 2018 that he was looking into allegations that officers asked passersby to delete cellphone video of the incident.
His report has been sent on to the Crown for consideration.
The Crown will now look at the evidence, and determine whether there's a "substantial" likelihood of conviction.
If the prosecution service decides that there is, and that prosecution would be required in the public interest, the Mounties could be charged.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.