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Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: watchdog

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

B.C.’s police watchdog has cleared Port Hardy RCMP officers of any wrongdoing in an arrest that left a man with broken ribs and a punctured lung.

According to a report from the Independent Investigations Office’s (IIO) Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, on the afternoon of March 22, 2019, RCMP members were called to attend the scene of a domestic disturbance at a Port Hardy residence.

The report states that outside of the home the RCMP members encountered a man who appeared intoxicated and was aggressive and uncooperative.

During the course of his being arrested, he was injured quite severely, leaving him with broken ribs and a punctured lung.

According the report, the man told investigators he was taken to the ground face-down, told to stop resisting, punched in the side of his face and kneed in the ribs on his left side. He did note he had threatened one of the officers.

Subject Officer 1 said in an interview that he took the man down because when he told (the man) he was under arrest, (the man) began fighting back, throwing punches.

When the man was transported to the RCMP detachment, he complained to the officers that his ribs were sore, and the RCMP decided to transport him to the hospital nearly six hours later, when he complained of trouble breathing.

The man suffered six broken ribs and a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

Ultimately, the IIO determined the RCMP officers were “clearly acting within their lawful authority and in accordance with their duty, both in removing (the man) from (the) residence and—based on his continuing behaviour—arresting him for causing a disturbance. On the evidence as a whole, it is clear that he resisted them in the execution of those duties, so that it was necessary for them to use force to restrain him and to defend themselves.”

MacDonald added that “in essence, (the man) chose to fight with the police when they attempted to lawfully arrest him. When he did, the police used force in response.”

The IIO concluded by noting the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

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