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IIO report: Police acted appropriately during Vernon domestic disturbance arrest

The Independent Investigations Office. Global News

Charges aren’t being recommended against Vernon RCMP, according to B.C.’s police watchdog service, after a local woman was reportedly injured during a domestic disturbance arrest.

On Thursday, the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) released a report on the arrest, which happened on Dec. 12, 2020 following a complaint about the domestic disturbance.

The report chronicled the arrest, and how four RCMP members attended the residence, where police found three intoxicated individuals, including a man who was arrested for breaching court conditions.

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According to the report, the man was under a no-contact condition regarding his partner. Police found him hiding in a bedroom when officers entered the home.

The woman, who later told IIO investigators she had been drinking and was belligerent, upset and angry at police, was also arrested. The five-page report said the woman swung at police after seeing her partner being arrested.

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The report said “police had been called to the residence multiple times for domestic disturbances. (The woman) acknowledged that there was a court order for (the man) not to be with her if he had been drinking.”

One police officer said that as the man was being arrested for breaching his court conditions, they had to move past the woman. The IIO said the woman swung her fist at one officer’s face and resisted being moved by flailing her arms.

The woman was arrested and handcuffed, and went limp, falling face forward to the floor.

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One officer said she had seen the same thing happen in the past with detainees, who go “dead weight” in an attempt to obstruct police.

“As they left the apartment, (the first officer) said she could see that the woman’s eye appeared to be injured, with fluid and blood seeping from it,” said the report.

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An ambulance was requested to meet at the Vernon police detachment, with the woman being taken to hospital.

“The officer said that subsequently, at the hospital, the woman became belligerent with one of the physicians, whom she accused of assaulting her,” said the report, which suggested the woman had hit a garbage can in the kitchen while going limp.

Police described the apartment as being in a deplorable condition, with the IIO saying its investigators visited the apartment.

The report said the only way to move in or out of the apartment was through the ‘galley-type’ kitchen, due to an interior hallway being completely blocked.

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The IIO said there was a considerable quantity of spilled liquids throughout the kitchen, and that investigators couldn’t establish whether any of the observed conditions had changed since the incident or to what extent.

The IIO said there was no evidence of blood or body fluids on or near the garbage can.

“The evidence is that the woman was significantly intoxicated at the time of the incident, and it is apparent that she does not have a clear memory of the events. She was angry and uncooperative with police,” said the report, adding that police witness reports about her fall were consistent.

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“It is worth noting, further, that there is no indication on any of the video recordings, either at the apartment building or the RCMP detachment, of any rough or otherwise inappropriate handling of the woman by any officer.”

To view the full report, visit the IIO’s website.

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