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Charges approved against 3 B.C. RCMP officers following 2016 violent arrest

RCMP union calls for swifter police complaint investigations
The union representing 20,000 RCMP members in Canada is calling for swifter police complaint probes after it took more than four years for three Prince George, B.C. officers to be charged in connection with a controversial takedown caught on camera in 2016. Ted Chernecki reports.

The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Monday it has approved charges against three RCMP officers in Prince George, B.C. following a violent arrest four years ago.

Security camera footage released after the Feb. 18, 2016 arrest of two men raised questions about the RCMP’s use of force.

The silent footage shows a police dog pulling the driver of a pickup truck out and onto the ground and then continuing to pull and bite at the suspect, according to Global News reports at the time. An officer can be seen hitting and kicking the suspect.

The passenger in the pickup truck seems to get out on their own, but then three officers can be seen behind the truck hitting the passenger.

Security video captures K9 arrest in Prince George
Security video captures K9 arrest in Prince George

The suspects had stolen the pickup truck and were fleeing from officers when the arrest happened.

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The two were charged with possessing stolen property and obstructing a peace officer. The driver was also charged with fleeing a peace officer.

They were not seriously injured.

READ MORE: Dog was target in Prince George, B.C., home invasion, RCMP say

The case was investigated by B.C.’s civilian-led police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, which submitted a report to Crown counsel in June 2018.

Const. Joshua Grafton has been charged with assault, assault with a weapon and obstruction of justice.

Const. Wayne Connell and Const. Kyle Sharpe have been charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Their first appearance in court is set for Aug. 12.

Crown counsel said Monday the charge assessment in this case was “significantly delayed” due to the complexity of the issues, their requests for further information, and the volume and details needed to be disclosed to investigate the case.

A little over a week ago, the watchdog announced it was sending a report to Crown counsel for the consideration of charges against five RCMP officers in related to a Prince George man’s death in 2017.

In a statement Tuesday, Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, said while they support and believe complaints against members of the RCMP need to be investigated fully, the “brave men and women who stand up to protect Canadians from those that would do them harm deserve better than to be subjected to a prolonged four-and-a-half year investigation.”

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“These RCMP Members have continued to serve their communities diligently and professionally while this protracted investigation took place, and now face additional years of uncertainty awaiting trial and verdict,” Sauvé said in a release.