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IIO recommends charges against five Prince George RCMP officers resulting from arrest in which pepper-sprayed man died

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has now forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for their consideration of charges against five RCMP officers from Prince George.

The possible charges stem from a July 18, 2017 arrest during which the suspect died. Information provided by the RCMP indicates that at approximately 10:30 p.m. that day, officers responded to a call of a man alleged to be casing parked vehicles in the 1000-block of Central Street West in Prince George.

When an officer attempted to question the ma, he allegedly attempted to flee on a bicycle. While attempting to take the man into custody, a struggle ensued between him and the officer and additional officers then arrived. Pepper spray was used. The man appeared to be having trouble breathing and police requested medical assistance. Officers reported that the man was removed from the police vehicle when Emergency Health Services (EHS) arrived, and he collapsed. The man was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.

Upon completion of the investigation, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC has determined that reasonable grounds exist to believe that two officers may have committed offences in relation to use of force, and three others may have committed offences regarding obstruction of justice. As a result, the IIO has forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of potential charges.

In order to approve the charges, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution is required in the public interest.

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