B.C.’s police watchdog has cleared Surrey RCMP of any wrongdoing after a woman complained her arm had been “wrenched” during her arrest at a “domestic” incident.
In a decision released on Aug. 6, the Independent Investigations Office of BC concluded charges would not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration after reviewing the Oct. 29, 2018 incident.
On that morning in 2018, Surrey RCMP responded to a 911 call from a man saying a female acquaintance had assaulted him in his apartment. He told the call taker the woman had kicked him in the face, giving him a black eye and “busted” nose.
Officers responded and decided to arrest her for assault.
In the IIO report, the man – who admitted he was drunk at the time – said that when responding to the call, an officer “yanked” the woman from the bed to the floor, handcuffed her and he said she was “yelling and screaming because of pain.”
The woman – referred to as AP in the report – also acknowledged she had been drinking. She said an officer “twisted” her arm behind her back. She told a paramedic the officer “very roughly grabbed me and jerked me up on something” and said the “pain was excruciating.”
But a police officer who spoke to IIO said the woman began kicking him and attempted to bite and scratch his gloved hand when he tried to handcuff her.
The officer said the woman “catapulted” or “jumped” off her scooter “with quite some velocity” and landed on her shoulder.
Paramedics at the scene described the woman as angry, aggressive and non-compliant, saying she swore at police and threw a “temper tantrum” when police tried to control her.
The report noted the woman suffered a shoulder injury, was treated at hospital for a fractured humerus bone and released later that day.
In his decision, Chief Civilian Director Ronald J MacDonald concluded both involved officers were “lawfully authorized and acting on reasonable grounds” in arresting the woman and had “received a credible complaint that she had assaulted” a man in a “domestic relationship context.”
IIO’s decision found there was a clear need to remove the woman from the man’s home.
Police attributed the woman’s injury to her throwing herself from her scooter to the floor, not when she was handcuffed.
“It seems clear that the involved officers were tasked with arrested an angry, belligerent and unco-operative AP, and needed to secure her in handcuffs,” MacDonald concluded. “Whether her injury resulted from a fall to the floor or from being secured in cuffs, or from a combination of the two, there is no reliable basis for concluding that unnecessary or excessive force was used to achieve this lawful objective.”
Further, MacDonald questioned the reliability of both the man and woman involved in the incident, noting they were “significantly intoxicated” at the time.
IIO BC is a civilian oversight agency that investigates incidents involving police officers that result in death or serious harm to determine whether or not an officer may have committed an offence.