Three officers involved in the fatal shooting of an Indigenous man in Campbell River last year could face charges after a police watchdog investigation found they may have committed use-of-force offences.
The Independent Investigations Office revealed its findings in the case of Jared Lowndes, who was shot dead by RCMP outside of a Willow Point Tim Hortons on Highway 19A on July 8, 2021.
Lowndes was wanted on outstanding warrants when he fled a traffic stop and was later located by RCMP outside of the restaurant.
Officers shot him multiple times after he fatally stabbed a police service dog, Gator.
On Thursday, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald. J MacDonald said after reviewing the evidence in the case, “reasonable grounds exist to believe that three officers may have committed offences in relation to various uses of force.”
The IIO will now submit a report to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.
Reacting to the watchdog’s findings, Lowndes’ mother Laura Holland felt vindicated.
“We knew that they had done wrong, we knew that everything that they did that day was wrong,” she said.
“This is the beginning. This is the beginning of the fight that’s going to last a long time, this is the beginning of a fight where we are going to ask for changes to policies, we’re going to ask for changes to laws, because there are far too many Indigenous people being shot and killed, murdered by the RCMP and different police forces across Canada. We’ve had enough.”
The family had launched a campaign called Justice for Jared with the goal of holding the RCMP accountable for a death they say was unnecessary and preventable.
In order for charges to be approved, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO.