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RCMP launch code of conduct probe in B.C. over violent arrest caught on video

Last Updated Oct 27, 2020 at 1:14 pm MDT

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — The RCMP’s North District commander says video taken of a violent arrest in Williams Lake, B.C., doesn’t provide the full scope of the arrest and gives no context of what happened before the man was taken into custody. 

The video circulating on social media shows an officer kicking and punching a man on the ground while another officer is trying to handcuff him.

A statement from Chief Supt. Warren Brown says it started with reports Sunday of a man driving erratically in Kamloops, almost 300 kilometres away from the location of the arrest.

Brown says an inquiry into the vehicle showed the driver had recently been found with a loaded handgun, the man refused to stop for officers on the long trip through the Interior and then wouldn’t show his hands when he was arrested. 

Police say the man has seven outstanding warrants for offences including dangerous driving, flight from police, prohibited driving, possession of stolen property and three counts of breach.

Brown says a code of conduct investigation has been launched and the Mounties are in discussions about what role an external agency may have in reviewing the use of force and determining if it was necessary under the circumstances. 

He says the second officer seen in the video was aware the man could have been armed and he used several “strikes” to quickly gain control of the situation, though the suspect was not found to have a gun.

“What is captured by the civilian video was the culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident, that put the lives of the public and police in several communities in jeopardy,” his statement says.

Mounties in Williams Lake are investigating the newest allegations against the driver and the detachment will forward its findings to the B.C. Prosecution Service to determine the charges, Brown says. 

The RCMP’s review of the arrest would include speaking with witnesses and the officers involved as well as reviewing police radio transmissions and any video, said Brown.

The Tsilhqot’in National Government released a statement condemning the violent arrest and calling for the immediate suspension of the officers involved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press