No charges against Lytton RCMP officer after man died following traffic stop | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No charges against Lytton RCMP officer after man died following traffic stop

May 13, 2021 - 1:59 PM

A Lytton RCMP officer will not face charges for their actions pertaining to a man who died shortly after interacting with the officer last summer.

The RCMP officer made a traffic stop near Lytton at around 10:30 p.m., Aug. 12, 2020, according to a decision from the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. released today, May 13.

As the officer began a sobriety test on the driver for suspected impaired driving, the man suddenly ran off on foot across two lanes of the highway and down a tree covered bank. The man’s body was found six days later in a river.

The investigation by the police watchdog found the police officer did not pursue the driver after he fled. The man’s vehicle was towed and the suspect failed to return home that evening.

The following day the man was still missing.

The traffic officer explained his rationale for not pursuing the man, noting the time of day, the fact he had no backup and the pursuit would involve moving through hazardous terrain. The weather was warm and the officer assumed the driver would go home, as his address was nearby.

Several foot searches then took place, but the man was not located until six days later when a body recovered near Hope from the Fraser River was later confirmed to be that of the driver.

It could not be determined when, why or where the driver entered the river, nor could it be determined at what point he drowned.

The independent investigation office found the officer’s decision not to follow the driver was reasonable, from a safety point of view. The investigation also found it reasonable for the officer to assume the driver would go home after running away, and found no evidence to suggest the man’s outcome would have been different had the officer searched for him that night.

“Accordingly, I do not consider that there are reasonable ground to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges,” the chief civilian director wrote in the decision.

The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in B.C. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

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