The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has determined two Port Hardy RCMP officers are not criminally liable for a man’s injuries while being arrested in March.
IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald’s report said “the officers were clearly acting within their lawful authority” when removing and arresting the man for causing a disturbance at a Port Hardy home March 22.
The arrest resulted in broken ribs and a punctured lung to the suspect during a struggle between himself and the arresting officers.
Police were called to a female’s house when she reported being assaulted and frightened by the man, who was under a court order to leave the house if asked by the woman to do so.
The report says the officers waited in their car for an argument between the two to calm down.
When the situation remained tense, one of the officers told the man, who appeared intoxicated and aggressive, that he would be arrested for causing a disturbance.
The arrested man told investigators he did not recall being told he was under arrest and was taken to the ground, punched in the face and kneed in the ribs, but the first officer said the man began fighting and throwing punches at him.
Both officers had injuries from the encounter.
At one point, the woman who called police began recording video of the arrest from the house which showed the man “resisting violently and kicking” as officers tried to put him in the back seat of the police car.
He could be heard on the video saying “you took me down,” to which the first officer responded with, “because you started fighting us.”
MacDonald considered the Mountie’s comment as corroborative with the two officers’ accounts of the incident.
MacDonald noted although there were different accounts from the officer and the man arrested on what led to his injuries, statements were consistent between both officers’ testimony and the man was “clearly belligerent and aggressive towards the officers.”
The report says based on evidence, it is clear the man resisted the officers and it was necessary for them to use force to apprehend the man and defend themselves.
The degree of force was not found to be excessive by the officers and no weapons were used.