The Independent Investigations Office of BC says a Surrey RCMP officer is not to blame for a man’s broken leg and three broken ribs following a traffic stop last August.
IIO chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald released his findings Monday (April 19), stating “there is no reliable evidence” that the officer “did anything beyond lawful apprehension of an individual running away from police after a legitimate traffic stop, and no evidence that they used any unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable force.”
According to an information bulletin from the IIO on Sept. 16, 2020, Surrey RCMP said that around 12:35 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2020, officers conducted a traffic stop in the 14300-block of 72A Avenue when the driver, a man, pulled onto a residential driveway exited the vehicle and fled on foot across the property.”
The officers, the IIO notes, “also exited their vehicles and pursued, quickly catching up to the man,” adding after a “brief interaction,” the man was arrested and “found to have serious injuries.”
MacDonald said the investigation included statements from the man, an attending paramedic, CCTV footage and police radio recordings. However, the officer did not provide a statement.
In his findings, MacDonald said officers pulled over a Lexus after seeing the car “driving erratically” and the man told IIO investigators that his friend owned the car “but was too intoxicated to drive,” so the man drove the car despite not having a licence.
He told investigators that after pulling over “he took only about two steps” from the car “when an officer delivered a flying kick to the back of his calf, breaking his leg,” adding he was “then punched or kneed in the ribs while on the ground, and suffered broken ribs.”
Macdonald said the incident was captured by CCTV video, which shows the man pulling the Lexus into a private driveway and the police vehicle stopping along the sidewalk behind the car.
The driver can be seen exiting the Lexus and running away, “initially up the driveway,” MacDonald noted.
MacDonald said the two officers ran after the driver when he turns “around a parked vehicle on the driveway and runs back towards the street. He jumps over a flower bed onto the lawn, passing close beside a large flower pot and falls heavily to the ground.”
An attending paramedic, MacDonald said, noted the driver was “under the influence of drugs or alcohol of some sort.” A paramedic witness described the man as “agitated, confused and extremely uncooperative.”
In his findings, MacDonald said “it is fortunate in this case that the incident was largely captured on video,” which shows the man’s account does not match the “objective evidence.”
“It is clear the officer did not deliver a flying kick to the back of his calf causing his leg to break,” MacDonald said, adding the only “reasonable conclusion” is that the man “jumped over an obstacle, tripped and broke his leg.”