Police watchdog called to investigate after video shows Williams Lake officer kicking suspect | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Police watchdog called to investigate after video shows Williams Lake officer kicking suspect

Screenshots from the video of the Williams Lake RCMP incident posted to social media.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Charli Fortier

Williams Lake RCMP have asked B.C.’s police watchdog to investigate an arrest made last month in which an officer can be seen kicking and punching a suspect in a witness video.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. says officers arrested a man on Oct. 25 after an alleged lengthy dangerous driving incident from Kamloops to Williams Lake.

Police stopped the suspect’s vehicle on Highway 97 near Williams Lake, a man jumped out and there was a struggle with the arresting officers, IIO says in a media release. The suspect wasn’t serious injured.

The witness video of the arrest was posted to social media shortly after the incident and the force’s Chief Supt. Warren Brown quickly issued a statement to say a code of conduct investigation had been launched. The video has since been removed from social media.

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

Because the suspect could have been armed, Brown said a second responding officer “utilized several strikes including one with his foot to rapidly gain control of the suspect.”

It turned out the suspect did not have a firearm. He is facing seven charges including dangerous driving, flight from police and possession of stolen property.

At the time of the incident, the threshold for serious harm was not met under the Police Act, so the IIO was not notified.

“Video captured of the incident at varying times, particularly that of the man’s arrest, has attracted significant public scrutiny,” the IIO said in the release. “In light of this, the RCMP requested that the IIO consider seeking direction from the Director of Police Services for an independent investigation of the incident.”

The IIO investigation was ordered on Nov. 17 and it will determine if the officers involved in the arrest committed any offences.

The IIO is asking any person who saw, heard or recorded the incident to contact the IIO Witness Line toll-free at 1-855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the iiobc.ca website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander or call 250-309-5343 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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