B.C.’s civilian police watchdog has cleared two Port Alberni RCMP officers of any wrongdoing, after a naked man covered in blood ran into a river and died.
According to the Independent Investigation Office (IIO), the officers were called around 3 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2019 for reports of a naked man in a public place.
Police at the time said a local business had phoned 911 to report the naked man had made his way to a nearby carwash to wash the blood off his body.
When officers responded, the man fled on foot into a tributary of Port Alberni Inlet, said the IIO.
The officers initially followed him into the water, but were forced to exit the frigid river before catching up to him.
The IIO said its investigation determined the officers had responded to a man who had suffered injuries with the intent to get him medical assistance.
“Two officers, one after the other, without regard for their own safety, entered the frigid water in attempts to save the male who ignored officers and moved further out from shore,” said the IIO in a media release.
“Both officers had to return to shore due to the impact of the cold water on their bodies.”
The IIO said search-and-rescue crews with proper cold-water equipment were able to recover the man’s body about an hour later.
The IIO said there was no evidence that the officers’ actions were responsible for the man’s death, and instead demonstrated an effort to save his life.
It remains unclear how the man became covered in blood.