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B.C. police watchdog asks Crown to consider charges against officer in Williams Lake arrest

Click to play video: 'Arrest in Williams Lake captured on camera'
Arrest in Williams Lake captured on camera
WATCH: A person driving by on Highway 97 in Williams Lake on Oct. 25 captured some RCMP officers arresting a man down an embankment at the side of the road. However, the chief superintendent said the video captures only part of the arrest, does not provide the full-scope of the arrest and provides no context with respect to what precipitated the arrest – Oct 26, 2020

British Columbia’s police watchdog says it has sent a report to the Crown that asks it to consider charges in relation to the 2020 arrest of a man in Williams Lake, B.C.

A statement from the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. says officers arrested a man following a lengthy incident of alleged dangerous driving between Kamloops and Williams Lake on Oct. 25, 2020.

Officers stopped the vehicle on Highway 97 near White Road, and the man got out of the vehicle and went down a nearby embankment before stopping.

“A struggle with officers ensued and the man was taken into custody without sustaining serious injuries,” the IIO said in a news release issued nearly a month after the incident.

Read more: Use of force probed after B.C. Mountie filmed kicking suspect in ‘dangerous’ high-speed chase

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Since the incident didn’t meet the threshold for serious harm as defined in the Police Act, the IIO was not notified at the time, the statement said.

Video of the arrest appeared on social media. In it, a man can be seen fleeing a white pickup truck stopped on the wrong side of the highway as several police vehicles pull up at high speed.

The man appears to sit on the ground at the bottom of an embankment, at which point one officer approaches and begins to grapple with him.

While the man is on the ground, a second officer then runs up to him, kicks him, and delivers several punches.

Click to play video: 'Investigation launched into Williams Lake arrest'
Investigation launched into Williams Lake arrest

RCMP said they immediately launched a review, but noted that a preliminary review found the civilian video did not “provide the full scope of the arrest,” which was the “culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident” that put police and civilian lives at risk.

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Ronald MacDonald, the office’s chief civilian director, said in a statement issued Thursday that “reasonable grounds exist to believe that one of the involved officers may have committed an offence in relation to the use of force during the arrest.”

The IIO report has been sent to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.

Before it can approve charges, MacDonald says the prosecution service must be satisfied there is a “substantial likelihood” of conviction based on the evidence gathered” by his office, and that a prosecution is in the public interest.

— with files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press

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