B.C. police watchdog clears RCMP in death of a man who used the river to escape - InfoNews

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B.C. police watchdog clears RCMP in death of a man who used the river to escape

June 13, 2020 - 10:25 AM

SURREY, B.C. - British Columbia's police watchdog has determined that officers weren't at fault for the death of a man who tried to escape arrest by jumping in the Fraser River.

The Independent Investigations Office says in a report that RCMP officers in Hope, B.C., tried to pull over a stolen pickup on July 23, 2019, for over an hour as it sped down Highway 1.

The report, released Friday, says police caught up with the truck north of Boston Bar and set out two separate spike belts before the vehicle was stopped and the female driver taken into custody.

Two males and a female who escaped from the truck were arrested shortly after, but the report says an officer with his dog tracked the fourth suspect to the Fraser River and the man was last seen being carried away by the current.

His body was found about 120 kilometres down the river two days later and the watchdog says a toxicology report showed the man had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his urine.

Ron MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the office, says in his report that while it's unfortunate the man chose to try to escape by the river, no officer can be blamed for the man's decision.

"There is no evidence that any officer did anything beyond justifiable attempts to take (the man) into custody," the report says.

MacDonald also investigated the driving of the officers involved who followed the truck as it sped down Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon.

The report says speed and location data from all involved police vehicles leads to the conclusion that the officers involved were driving within the ranges of permissible speeds and legal rules.

"I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe than an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefor the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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