Lisims-Nass Valley RCMP officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a B.C. watchdog investigation into the death of a man while being apprehended by officers last year in October.
In a four-page report released by Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO), Mar. 29, Chief Civilian Director Ronald MacDonald ruled out any foul play by the police and said that the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.
“I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment,” said MacDonald in the report.
The investigation was triggered after a man who stabbed his father in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) died in police custody on Oct. 13, 2020, after the RCMP responded to the call for assistance.
According to the report by the IIO, when the police arrived at the scene, they found the man in a “state of mental distress,” who was harming himself and had cut his own throat with garden shears and slashed his arms with a knife.
In an interaction, the police officer who tried to subdue the man from harming himself, used a conducted energy weapon (CEW) commonly known as a taser, before handcuffing him. The man became unresponsive while he was being transported to the medical centre where he was pronounced dead.
The evidence collected and analyzed during the course of the investigation included statements from five civilian witnesses, statement from one witness police officer, police dispatch records, audio recording of 911 calls and police radio transmissions. It also looked into the CEW examination and reports, and a review of the autopsy report.
The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether the officer used unauthorized, unnecessary or excessive force in his dealings as that could result in criminal liability.
“If the officer was acting as required or authorized by law, on reasonable grounds, they were justified in using as much force as was necessary.”
The report concluded that the officer was “acting lawfully, in execution of his duty,” in this particular circumstance.