A number of residents on a cul-de-sac in Duncan witnessed the RCMP forcibly take down and arrest a wanted man on March 4.
But some of the residents wondered if the police used excessive violence in the arrest.
A police spokesperson said the man assaulted a police officer, causing injuries that had to be treated in hospital, before the use of force.
A woman resident, who asked not to be identified, said she heard a man screaming on Olson Place, a cul-de-sac just off Trunk Road, at approximately 9:30 a.m. Sunday and when she stepped outside her residence to see what was happening, she saw a police officer wrestling a man to the ground.
The woman said another police officer arrived soon after and began repeatedly punching and kicking the man in the head and body.
She said more police arrived quickly and helped handcuff and place the man, who was now bleeding from the head, into the back of a police cruiser.
She said the police then approached her and the other neighbours who had gathered to ask what they had seen and provide statements.
“The police officer explained to us that the man had to be punched to be restrained,” the woman said.
“The officer also said the man was known to them and he was known to be violent. But we wanted to know why he had to be punched and kicked so many times. It was just awful; we live in Canada, not the U.S.”
Cpl. Tammy Douglas, a spokeswoman for the RCMP Island District, confirmed that officers from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment responded to a report of a suspicious man driving around and around the cul-de-sac on Olson Place Sunday morning.
She said police queries determined the registered owner of the vehicle to be known to police.
“When the first officer arrived, the driver, who was bound by a recognizance of bail not to be in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle, was advised that he was under arrest for breach of his conditions,” Douglas said.
“The driver appeared to be intoxicated by a controlled substance. Upon attempting to arrest the driver, the suspect allegedly assaulted the police officer. The police officer requested immediate assistance as the suspect was now attempting to get away. A second officer arrived and assisted in attempting to arrest the individual. Other officers arrived shortly thereafter. The male continued to resist and was eventually placed into handcuffs.”
Douglas said the police officer who initially stopped the driver sustained numerous injuries as a result of the incident and received medical attention at Cowichan District Hospital.
She said the suspect also received medical attention from Emergency Health Services.
“This same man was arrested two weeks earlier, on Feb. 18, after conducting random laps of the detachment for an unknown reason,” Douglas said.
“Officers stopped the vehicle and then, without warning, he allegedly accelerated rapidly in reverse colliding with a police vehicle in an attempt to escape. Police eventually managed to arrest the suspect without further incident. The police car was removed from service due to the damage caused.”
Douglas said the man is facing multiple charges stemming from both incidents and the file remains under investigation.
She said RCMP Victim Services is available to anyone who may have been impacted by this incident.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.