Status of officer remains unknown

It’s not known if a police officer will be charged after a man alleged police beat him, uttered racial taunts and put a spit hood on him.

  • Jan. 23, 2013 3:00 p.m.

A MAN who said police beat him, uttered racial taunts and put a spit hood on his head faces charges but it’s not known if a police officer involved in the incident and who is now under suspension will also be charged.

William Watts is accused of assaulting a peace officer following a May 2012 incident after police were called to a Davis Ave. residence because a woman was consuming alcohol contrary to court-ordered conditions.

Police at the time said a 35-year-old woman was arrested and then a 37-year-old man was arrested after he became agitated and aggressive towards others in the residence, including children.

The man said he was going to spit into the police officer’s face so a spit hood was placed on his head to prevent it, said police.

A spit hood is a bag which, when placed over someone’s head, prevents a person from spitting on to another person and can catch and retain blood, vomit and other material.

The police report to crown counsel, in which charges are recommended against Watts, was submitted May 30, 2012 and a charge laid July 9, 2012, said Terrace RCMP community policing and media relations officer Const. Angela Rabut.

A second report about the same incident, this time concerning the use of force by a Terrace RCMP officer against Watts during his arrest, was received by the criminal justice branch of the provincial government.

But Crown Counsel lawyers have not yet a decision about  whether the officer will be charged, said Rabut.

Watts also submitted a complaint to the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP and an investigation took place.

It was sent to Terrace RCMP Inspector Dana Hart, the commanding officer of the detachment here, who reviewed it and ordered a code of conduct investigation, said Rabut.

The RCMP Code of Conduct is a set of rules and expectations under which officers are expected to function. Contravening the code could result in a number of measures, including loss of pay or rank.

That code of conduct investigation is now complete and is proceeding to a hearing stage which is presided over by a panel consisting of three RCMP officers.

“A report has also been forwarded to a regional crown counsel to determine whether or not charges are to be laid. The member in question is currently suspended with pay,” Hart said of the situation.