No charges for Nanaimo RCMP members investigated for using excessive force

NANAIMO - Suicidal man suffers broken arm while being arrested under Mental Health Act by two Nanaimo Mounties in 2015.

Bridges in downtown Nanaimo were closed temporarily while police investigated a unattended package.

Bridges in downtown Nanaimo were closed temporarily while police investigated a unattended package.

Two Nanaimo Mounties investigated for alleged excessive force while apprehending a suicidal man will not face charges.

The announcement was made Monday by the Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice Branch, and stems from an arrest made in November 2015 that was investigated by the B.C. Independent Investigations Office, which referred its investigation to the Criminal Justice Branch.

According to the statement, the officers involved responded to a 911 call for a man who was an alleged crystal methamphetamine user who had cut both his wrists and was bleeding freely when police arrived. When the officers attempted to arrest the man under the Canadian Mental Health Act, he resisted attempts to apprehend him and take him to hospital.

Both officers stated they feared the suspect might have been going for a weapon and admitted punching him in an effort to gain control over him. The suspect’s right arm was broken as the officers tried to force his arms behind his back.

The officers later found a machete, scissors and a razor blade within arm’s reach of the suspect, according to the statement.

It also said the doctor who treated the fracture noted the man’s broken arm had received surgery for a previous fracture and a psychiatrist who dealt with him found he was likely suffering from psychosis caused by crystal methamphetamine use.

Potential charges considered against the officers were assault causing bodily harm and assault.

“In this case the branch has concluded the available evidence does not meet Criminal Justice Branch’s charge assessment standards,” said Dan McLaughlin, Criminal Justice Branch spokesman.  “In other words, we’ve concluded that the branch would not be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that either of the officers committed a criminal offence or used excessive force in the administration or enforcement of the law. Consequently no charges have been approved.”

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said because the officers were not charged the Nanaimo detachment will not comment on the case.

The Criminal Justice Branch has made a Clear Statement, detailing reasons for not approving charges, publicly available. To read the full statement, please visit http://bit.ly/2kkE7hd.

“In cases involving police officers, we feel it’s important in the public interest … that the charges have been considered and here’s the reason for a no charge decision,” McLaughlin said. “If there were charges, we would simply announce that charges have been approved and we wouldn’t be commenting on the circumstances, but when the charges are not approved the branch feels it’s important to the public confidence in the system to know when an officer may have committed a criminal offense and there’s not going to be a charge, here’s why.”

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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