(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

B.C.’s police watchdog has cleared a Penticton Mountie of any wrongdoing after a man died in hospital following his arrest.

According to the Independent Investigations Office of BC, a man was arrested in Penticton on November 8, 2019, after he allegedly shoplifted two frozen pizzas from a local supermarket.

An officer arrived on scene to find the suspect walking down a street. He called to the man to stop but the suspect started to run away, according to a police watchdog report released Thursday, Aug.13.

The officer pursued the suspect on foot and managed to catch up with the man and grab his right arm, causing him to fall to onto a curb.

The officer held the suspect down by kneeling on his back or buttocks area while calling for assistance. Two more officers arrive on the scene and attempted to arrest the suspect; however, the man became agitated and resisted, the report reads.

READ MORE: Police watchdog clears RCMP of wrongdoing in West Kelowna man’s death

After the man managed to be placed in handcuffs an officer noticed a minor injury to the suspect’s face and called an ambulance. The suspect was described as elderly and ‘out of it’ by RCMP.

A woman who witnessed the arrest called the IIO to report the incident, claiming there was no need for several officers to attend and that the man had tried to walk away and the RCMP’s use of force was unnecessary.

Video obtained by the police watchdog showed no apparent force was applied to the suspect. Other witnesses to the arrest also confirmed they did not believe excessive force was used.

The man was eventually taken to the hospital and apprehended under the Mental Health Act. However, he left the hospital without permission on the morning of Nov. 8 and was later escorted back without incident by a different RCMP officer.

While in the hospital, the man reportedly remained active but somewhat agitated. On Nov. 11 he became short of breath. A chest X-ray showed he had three broken ribs and blood was pooling between his chest wall and lungs. The man was treated with a chest tube, which was later removed.

On Nov. 14, the man again experienced shortness of breath and died.

The autopsy report listed the cause of death as “pulmonary thromboembolism, due to blockages of blood vessels inside the lungs caused by blood clots in the legs.”

The police watchdog reviewed the case and determined the original officer who detained the suspect was justified in pursuing him for the arrest and that the officer was entitled to use of force in the course of carrying out police duties.

The two officers who later arrived on scene to arrest the suspect used no more force than necessary to restrain the man, according to the IIO.

Although the IIO report states the suspect in question may have suffered a serious injury during his arrest, it was not apparent to anyone at the time including medical personnel who dealt with the man at the RCMP detachment and hospital.

The Police Act requires the IIO to investigate incidents where there is serious harm or death as a result of police action.

READ MORE: B.C.’s police watchdog investigating Kelowna RCMP’s actions after man’s death

p>

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tree protection advisory committee members appointed in Langley Township

Volunteers will provide guidance on protection, preservation, and planting of trees in township

Eric Woodward Foundation takes over management of Fort Langley Cranberry Festival

Annual Thanksgiving event was cancelled for 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

VIDEO: Fall storm hits Langley, leaves hundreds without power

Risk of thunderstorm remain in Thursday forecast

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

Langley4Langley food bank fundraiser extends deadline to Sept. 30

Participants can log activity online and take part in 10 km virtual fun run in Derby Reach

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

Most Read