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Awkward fall blamed for Enderby man’s injury, not police: IIO

Sign for the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.
The IIO's mandate is to investigate any incident where police actions or inactions may have caused harm or death to a civilian person. Independent Investigations Office

An Enderby Mountie who was being investigated for excessive force is off the hook, with B.C.’s police watchdog saying the evidence shows that the alleged victim actually injured his ankle when he “fell awkwardly.”

The issue stems from a Nov. 24, 2021 arrest of a man for breaching the peace, a night after he was taken into custody and lodged overnight in Enderby RCMP cells.

“Detachment video recordings show that when he was released at 7:34 a.m. the following morning, Nov. 24, 2021, he did not appear to be suffering from any injury or mobility issues,” Ronald J. MacDonald, chief civilian director for the IIO, said in a report released Tuesday.

At 8:35 a.m. on Nov. 24, 2021, someone called 911 complaining that the man had arrived at their home, “drunk” again and causing a disturbance.

The IIO was told during the course of their investigation that the man had arrived at someone’s home with a half-empty bottle of vodka, and quickly drank the remaining half.

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They asked the man to leave but he refused, trying to get them and his brother to go outside and fight, Macdonald said in the report.

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Three Mounties arrived on the scene separately between 8:54 and 8:57 a.m. The officer who was being investigated spoke with the person whose home the man had gone to outside the house while another Mountie, who had released the man from custody about an hour earlier, approached the man. They went with the second officer to the front door of the residence to talk to other civilian witnesses.

The brother of the first witness said the man showed up at the house inebriated, “swigging from a bottle of vodka and uttering threats about burning the house and kicking people’s asses.”

From what they could see, as the man was being handcuffed by the attending officer he tried to step toward the house and was held back. Then, as he was being walked to the police cruiser, something caused him to fall, with the officer in question trying to keep him upright.

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Other accounts from people on site were similar. The man, however, is the only one who was being thrown to the ground without justification.

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“The evidence as a whole, then, establishes that an intoxicated AP fell awkwardly, either completely by accident on the uneven, slippery ground, or possibly taken down by SO in response to his resistance, and the officer was trying to support him as he went down,” RCMP said.

“The injury he suffered was not the result of any exertion of unjustified or unreasonable force against him.”

The IIO’s mandate is to investigate any incident where police actions or inactions may have caused harm or death to a civilian person.

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