BCPS will not approve charges against RCMP officers in death of Jared Lowndes

BCPS will not approve charges against RCMP officers in death of Jared Lowndes
Jared Lowndes' mother, Laura Holland, surrounded by supporters addresses the decision by the BC Prosecution Service not to press charges against the three officers involved in the fatal shooting of her son.

The BC Prosecution Service says it will not file charges against the three officers involved in the death of Jared Lowndes after new information was learned.

After a lengthy investigation, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. recommended charges against the three Campbell River RCMP officers involved in the fatal shooting of Lowndes in 2021.

One of the officers shot Lowndes twice in the back, a second officer shot at Lowndes but missed and a third released a police dog into the car Lowndes was in, which ultimately resulted in the dog’s death.

The BCPS says the evidence it reviewed did not disprove that use of force by the officers was necessary, reasonable and proportionate given Lowndes’ behaviour leading up to his death.

READ PREVIOUS: IIO has ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe 3 RCMP officers involved in Jared Lowndes death may have committed offences

Lowndes’ mother speaks out

Laura Holland, Lowndes’ mother, says this decision by the BCPS is not the end of the journey to seek justice for her son.

“It has been 1,020 days that I have waited to hear what proposed charges might be, and there are none,” Holland said. “This doesn’t end here. It’s not over. It’s time for Canada to stop protecting their gunmen who have been slaughtering our people for decades, centuries.”

Holland says she will continue to pursue this through various means.

“I will continue to fight for justice for Jared, I will continue to fight for justice for all Indigenous people who have been killed,” she said.

“If it means we need an inquiry into why they’re doing this, and if it means we need an inquiry to change some of the policies and procedures at the BC prosecution officer says they’re bound by, if we need to continue to address systemic racism, we will do that.”

She says there is additional information that has been learned about Lowndes’ death in addition to what is shared.

“There are particular things we have learned about the killing of Jared Lowndes, and we are not yet at liberty of disclosing that information,” she said. “Instead, we are hopeful that truth will be seen and heard. The truth must be heard.”

Timeline of events leading up to Lowndes’ death

The incident that resulted in Lowndes’ death started at 5:30 in the morning on July 8, 2021. An officer saw Lowndes’ car and learned he had an outstanding warrant for firearms offences in Vancouver, the BCPS report says.

As the officer approached his vehicle, Lowndes is reported to have reversed, struck the police vehicle then “sped off.”

The original officer and a second officer then found Lowndes in a drive-thru. An officer suggested the police block in the vehicle.

“Another officer queried whether it was a good plan considering Mr. Lowndes’ history of weapons offences and the busy nature of the restaurant,” the report says.

The decision was made to block him in, rather than continuing to try and pursue him.

After blocking his car, the officers then called out for him to show them his hands, while one officer approached his vehicle. Lowndes then reportedly discharged bear spray, which affected multiple officers.

The officer who approached the vehicle then went and got a police dog and lifted him into Lowndes’ vehicle, at which point Lowndes then started stabbing the dog, who ultimately died.

The officer reached into the vehicle and was also stabbed.

A taser was used to try and subdue Lowndes, but he cut the taser wires away with the knife.

Lowndes then began to exit the vehicle, still holding the knife and reportedly yelled, “Shoot me, kill me.”

The first officer and second officer fired shots at the same time. The first officer hit Lowndes twice in the back, and the second officer missed.

In determining whether to file charges, the BCPS says one of three factors must be disproven beyond a reasonable doubt: the officers were acting in the course of their duties, the officer had reason to believe there was a perceived risk to the officers or others, or the force used by the officer was necessary, reasonable and proportionate.

The BCPS says it believes the first two to be true, but the third was potentially not.

In deploying the police dog, the BCPS says it was determined to be reasonable because the attempt to block him in with police vehicles and the use of bear spray meant it was reasonable to deploy the dog.

For the decision to shoot at Lowndes, the BCPS says the fact that he was armed with a knife and wasn’t listening to commands meant it was reasonable.

However, it also considered that when Lowndes was exiting the vehicle and only had one foot on the ground and not yet straightened up when the officers shot. The BCPS says risk does not have to materialize in order for the officers to act, and given Lowndes’ previous behaviour it was reasonable to believe there was risk if he fully exited the vehicle.

“Considering all the circumstances, the Crown would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used was unnecessary, unreasonable, or disproportionate,” BCPS said in a statement. “Therefore, there is no substantial likelihood of conviction in relation to any of the proposed charges.”


Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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