B.C.’s police watchdog report recommends charges in 2019 arrest of erratic driver near Sicamous

The incident began with a report of an erratic driver on Highway 97 near Lake Country, at 1:30 a.m., and ended with his arrest at 3:20 a.m., northeast of Sicamous. Global News

An investigation into an erratic driver arrest two years ago has led the province’s police watchdog to issue a report asking the B.C. Prosecution Service to consider charges.

According to the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., the arrest happened on Oct. 28, 2019, around 3:20 a.m., near Malakwa, with officers detaining a 38-year-old man following a report two hours earlier of an erratic driver on Highway 97 near Lake Country.

Police in Armstrong tried unsuccessfully to stop the vehicle, though Sicamous and Salmon Arm RCMP officers stopped the vehicle south of Sicamous before it fled.

Read more: Police watchdog recommends charges against RCMP officers for rough arrest near Sicamous, B.C.

The vehicle was stopped a second time, in Malakwa, 20 km northeast of Sicamous, with the IIO having previously noted the man allegedly resisted arrest.

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“Officers attempted two unsuccessful traffic stops before the vehicle was successfully stopped in Malakwa,” said the IIO.

“An interaction occurred when officers attempted to arrest the male driver, and he went into medical distress.”

The IIO said the man, in critical condition, was transported to a local hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead the following evening, Oct. 29.

The IIO said its director, Ronald J. MacDonald, “reviewed the evidence and determined that reasonable grounds exist to believe that an officer may have committed a criminal offence through their use of force that may have contributed to the man’s death.”

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As a result of MacDonald’s review, the IIO said pursuant to Section 38.11 of the Police Act, it forwarded a report to B.C.’s prosecution service for consideration of charges.

However, the IIO noted that to approve any charges, prosecutors must be satisfied that there’s a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution be required in the public interest.

The IIO conducts investigations into police-related incidents of death or serious harm to determine whether or not a police officer may have committed an offence.

For more about the IIO, visit their website.

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