New West police to probe RCMP arrest of elderly couple caught on video

A screenshot from the video. Screenshot

An outside police force has been called in to look at how Mounties handled an arrest of two seniors that was captured on a video that is circulating online.

A statement from the RCMP on Saturday said New Westminster police have been asked to conduct an investigation that will look at the entire incident, including the actions of Coquitlam RCMP.

The video posted on YouTube appears to show an officer dragging a man down a staircase while another officer arrests a woman, who appears to fall at one point.

WATCH: RCMP officers are captured on camera carrying out a violent arrest following a dispute at a strata meeting in Coquitlam.

Click to play video: 'Violent arrest of elderly couple caught on camera' Violent arrest of elderly couple caught on camera
Violent arrest of elderly couple caught on camera – Oct 28, 2016

Sgt. Jeff Scott, a spokesman for New Westminster Police, said no formal complaint about the incident had been filed when the RCMP requested an investigation.

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Scott said it’s not uncommon for an external agency or department to be called in to investigate an incident where police are involved.

“Our [department] is looking at this and treating this how we would treat any other type of investigation: by being fair to everybody involved and looking at this from a perspective of total objectivity and impartiality,” he said.

Investigators will speak to witnesses, the couple who were arrested and review all video footage including any surveillance footage that is available.

Scott said it’s too early to know how long the probe will take or what type of recommendations it may lead to.

Police have already looked into whether communication and language barriers were a contributing factor.

A Korean-speaking New Westminster officer followed up with the couple and determined that they do speak English, Scott said.

In an interview with the CBC, Myung Ju Lee described how he and his wife, Kap Su Lee, were treated by police.

“He grabbed my arm, twisted it, put it behind my back, then kicked me [down the stairs] from the second floor,” he said.
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The couple told the CBC they spent the night in the hospital, having received bruises and scrapes as a result of the incident.

A statement from RCMP Supt. Sean Maloney said police were called to a hotel in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam on Wednesday evening after they received a report that fighting had broken out at a tenants meeting.

The meeting was stopped, but Maloney said officers arrested an elderly couple — who witnesses said had refused to leave — and police will be forwarding a report to the Crown about criminal charges.

Police have not released updates on whether charges against the couple are still being investigated.

Maloney said a preliminary review of the video confirmed the involvement of Coquitlam RCMP members.

“I respect and understand that the video may cause concern to the public,” Maloney said in a release.

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