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Independent investigators clear Kamloops officer of excessive force accusation

September 18, 2015 - 11:55 AM

KAMLOOPS — A  Kamloops Mountie will not face assault-related charges after the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. determined the officer did not use excessive force when arresting a suspect who suffered an injury causing paralysis last year.

During a chase between a man with an outstanding warrant and police, the suspect jumped a series of backyard fences. On his final jump, the man landed on his head which caused injuries to his neck and immediate paralysis. The officer who landed next to him rolled him over to cuff him which the suspect said was excessive force given his injury.

Independent investigators were called to examine the file as RCMP cannot investigate its own.

Included in a report from the investigation office, the complainant gave two statements and said he did not know it was the police pursuing him until he jumped the last fence.

"Although he states that the way the police officers dealt with him was “way over the top” and they grabbed him and tossed him around, he also described his memory as “shot” since the incident and said his recollection is “pretty hazy”,” the report says.

Medical evidence collected by investigators says the man sustained injuries which caused a herniated disk in his back which compressed his spinal cord. He cannot move his arms or legs.

The three police officers who attended the scene said the complainant was moved to handcuff him but kept him still afterwards. One officer reported the man was rolled onto his stomach, while the others said he was rolled on his side. All said they kept the complainant still after he complained of a neck injury following his arrest.

"The complainant fled from the police by running through private yards and jumping over fences. If he had not been injured, the minimal force used to restrain him after he had fallen cannot reasonably be said to be excessive,” the report says. "Unfortunately, the complainant was injured in the incident, but there is no available medical evidence establishing that the injury was aggravated by the actions of the police officer. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise since the complainant stated that the pain and loss of feeling was immediate."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at gbrothen@infonews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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