The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared an RCMP officer of wrongdoing in an incident where an intoxicated man was injured while being booked at the Nanaimo detachment.
The investigation stemmed from an April 22 incident when the “affected person” (AP) was arrested in Nanaimo after threatening and assaulting another person while intoxicated.
According to the IIO report, released Thursday, Oct. 20, AP behaved in an argumentative manner in the detachment booking area and while being escorted to a cell by the subject officer (SO), made an “assaultive gesture” that caused the officer to take hold of AP’s arms and push them down. AP fell to the floor and suffered injuries to an arm and leg.
The report said AP was described by civilian jail guards as belligerent and made “several weak attempts to strike out” at the officer while he was being searched, but the arresting officer remained calm throughout the process.
The activity of the officer bringing the man to the cells was captured on the detachment’s closed-circuit TV system, which showed the man appearing to argue with the officer, “gesturing vigorously” with his hands and, at times, pointing to the officer’s service belt. No sound was recorded, but the report said the officer appeared to continue to remain calm and patient and did not respond physically other than to briefly restrain the man’s hands by pinning them against his chest and holding him against a wall.
“When SO releases AP, AP takes a step along the hallway, but then turns back and again confronts SO, who tries again to control AP’s wildly gesturing hands. The video shows AP extending his left arm towards SO’s face, and his right arm is raised and bent at the elbow. SO takes hold of AP’s arms and directs them downwards towards the floor. AP pitches forward and falls to the floor,” the report notes.
The man was unable to stand and fell back against the wall. The officer tried to help him up, but was unsuccessful and turned the man around, grabbed him under the arms and pulled him into the cell, said the report.
Video from the cell showed that the officers placed a foam mattress on the concrete floor and lifted the man onto it, but he appeared to be in pain. Paramedics were called, arrived minutes later, and took him away.
In a later interview with the IIO, the man allegedly stated that he had no memory of how he was injured, but thought it possibly happened at his home.
The report noted the man has since passed away “for reasons unrelated to this incident or to police actions.”
In his findings, Ronald J. MacDonald, IIO B.C. chief civilian director, said AP’s injuries resulted from the assaultive move that was warded off by the officer, without any force other than that needed to deflect the man’s arms away from the officer’s face. The officer acted appropriately, once it was apparent the man was injured, by moving him with minimal force to secure him in a cell and then summoning help.
“Officers made AP as comfortable as reasonably possible by lifting him onto a mattress and paramedics quickly took over his welfare. There was no other application of force against him by any officer,” MacDonald said in his findings.
There were no reasonable grounds to believe the officer committed an offence and the matter will not be forwarded to Crown counsel for charges, MacDonald concluded.