iN VIDEO: Williams Lake RCMP investigating arrest after video shows officer kicking suspect | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Williams Lake RCMP investigating arrest after video shows officer kicking suspect

Screenshots from the video of the Williams Lake RCMP incident posted to social media.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Charli Fortier
October 26, 2020 - 3:55 PM

A police incident in Williams Lake is under the microscope after a witness's video showed an officer kicking and punching a suspect during an arrest.

The Williams Lake RCMP has launched a code of conduct investigation into the Oct. 25 arrest, according to a statement from the RCMP's Chief Superintendent Warren Brown. He went on to explain the context for the arrest and justified the actions of the officer.

"Following a preliminary review, we can say that the civilian video, while it captures part of the arrest, does not provide the full-scope of the arrest and provides no context with respect to what precipitated the arrest," Brown said in the statement.

The video shows the culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident that put the lives of the public and police at risk, he said.

Kamloops RCMP received a report of an erratic driver on Highway 1 just before 9 a.m. Oct. 25. The driver was allegedly crossing on double solid lines and unable to stay in their lane, and police in surrounding communities were alerted.

Police had reason to believe the driver of the silver pick-up truck could be armed.

In Clinton, the driver failed to stop and fled from police at a high rate of speed, after reportedly passing four vehicles on the wrong side of the road around a blind corner.

Again, the driver failed to stop for officers in 100 Mile House, and narrowly missed striking an officer who was attempting to stop the truck in 150 Mile House.

A spike belt was successfully deployed outside 150 Mile House, followed by a second spike belt in Williams Lake which immobilized the truck.

The video captures the suspect fleeing on foot for a short distance before appearing to surrender. However, the Chief Superintendent said the suspect refused to comply with the officer’s commands to show his hands and a struggle ensued.

"A second responding officer, who was aware the man could be armed and was not complying with the initial officer’s commands, utilized several strikes including one with his foot to rapidly gain control of the suspect and resolve the situation," Brown said. 

The suspect was arrested without further incident, and was found not to be in possession of a firearm.

"We are fortunate that no one, including the suspect, was physically injured in an incident that can only be described as reckless and dangerous, which put the public and police at risk," he said.

The driver has been arrested and remains in custody on seven outstanding warrants for offences including dangerous driving, flight from police, and possession of stolen property.

"I have full confidence that the review and internal investigation underway will allow for a full capture of the facts that will guide our actions and any other decisions moving forward," Brown said.

Discussions are underway as to whether an external agency will review the use of force in the arrest. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with more information is urged to contact Williams Lake RCMP at 250-392-6211.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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