The Independent Investigations Office of BC in Surrey, B.C. (The Canadian Press)

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C.’s police watchdog is recommending charges against five RCMP officers in Prince George in connection to an arrest in 2017 where a man died after being pepper-sprayed.

The incident happened on the evening of July 18, 2017 when an officer responded to reports of a man alleged to be checking out parked vehicles, the Independent Investigations Office said in a report released Friday (May 29).

It’s alleged that the man tried to flee on a bicycle. While attempting to take the man into custody, a struggle ensued between him and the officer when additional officers then arrived.

Pepper spray was used and the man appeared to have trouble breathing, causing the police on scene to call for paramedics.

Once paramedics arrived, the man collapsed and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the report indicates.

In his initial report in July 2019, chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald announced the agency would be suggesting criminal charges to Crown counsel. At the time, MacDonald did not detail how many officers were involved nor what offences may have been committed.

On Friday, May 29, MacDonald clarified that “reasonable grounds exist” to believe that two officers may have committed offences in relation to use of force, while three others may have committed offences regarding obstruction of justice.

The B.C. Prosecution Service is now reviewing the report to determine potential charges. In order to approve charges, Crown counsel must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the police watchdog, and that prosecution is required in the public interest.

Black Press Media has reached out to the B.C. Prosecution Service for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skeena Voices | World-renowned Indigenous artist has Northwest roots

Dempsey Bob looks back on his early years and his formation as an artist

One dead after single-vehicle crash east of Terrace

Cause unknown, RCMP asking public for information

Terrace Fire Department gets new rescue truck

$500,000 donation from LNG Canada went toward new truck, with remainder of funds coming from City

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Most Read