The Independent Investigations Office of BC has determined that no RCMP member was at fault in injuries sustained by a man while he was being apprehended in South Surrey last summer.
The incident occurred as police responded to an alleged home invasion on Aug. 10.
According to a written decision, which was released Thursday morning, the affected person “suffered a broken wrist during his attempt to flee the scene… and was arrested by officers employing a Police Service Dog.”
According to the report, two police officers were called to a home just prior to 5:30 a.m. after a woman phoned police to report that two men – carrying what appeared to be firearms – were in her backyard. Shortly afterward, IIO investigators were told, two men entered the home and disabled security cameras while the woman barricaded herself in a bedroom with her two dogs.
When police arrived, the two men fled the scene. One was Tasered on the front lawn of the residence and taken into custody, while the second was able to escape. Two “realistic-looking replica firearms” were found at the scene.
A police dog tracked a suspect to a nearby tree at the side of the road, and officers found a person on their hands and knees “hiding amongst the vegetation.”
After “multiple warnings” that the dog would be sent in if the person did not come out, the dog was deployed and the person pulled from the tree and taken in custody.
In an interview with IIO, the person in question said the dog had bitten him in the shoulder and back, but he did not know his wrist had been fractured. He said he had fallen as he ran from the house. The man demonstrated to investigators that he had landed on his elbows while falling, rather than his hand, and said he first noticed pain in his wrist upon being handcuffed and lifted up by his cuffed wrists.
He was taken to the hospital, where his “minor puncture wounds from a dog bite” were cleaned and he was treated for a fractured wrist.
An attending physician told the IIO that the fracture was “consistent with a fall onto an extended hand.”
“The evidence collected does not provide grounds to consider any charges against any officer,” the report concludes.
“Officers 1 and 2 were justified in pursuing (the affected person) from the scene of a serious crime, and in employing the (Police Service Dog)… when he failed to surrender as ordered. They had good reason to be concerned about whether (affected person) might still be armed with some form of weapon, and gave him the chance to surrender without the use of the PSD.”
Further, the report states that evidence contradicts the arrested man’s claim that he landed on his elbows when he fell, with his wrists protected.
“Common sense suggests this is highly improbable, as that is not how people fall forward,” Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald writes in the report’s conclusion.
“Therefore, the wrist injury occurred as (affected person) ran from police, and not, as alleged by (affected person), after he was handcuffed. All force used by the police was justified in the circumstances.”