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North District RCMP and Williams Lake RCMP are reviewing an incident that resulted in the aggressive arrest of an erratic driver on Sunday.
The situation, which was recorded and posted to Facebook, saw multiple cop cars pull over a driver who attempted to flee the area. Once he stopped to be arrested by RCMP, the suspect was taken to the ground and allegedly kicked.
North District Commander Warren Brown responded to the arrest, explaining that the video only captured a small portion of the incident.
"I want to assure you that immediately upon learning of the arrest we launched a review of the incident which includes speaking with the officers involved and witnesses, reviewing the in police car video, police radio transmissions, as well as the civilian video," said Brown. "Additionally, I have spoken with the Officer in Charge of the Williams Lake RCMP who has launched a code of conduct investigation."
"Following a preliminary review, we can say that the civilian video, while it captures part of the arrest, does not provide the full-scope of the arrest and provides no context with respect to what precipitated the arrest. What is captured by the civilian video was the culmination of a high-risk, multi-jurisdictional incident, that put the lives of the public and police in several communities, in jeopardy."
Brown would describe the entire incident, which began in Kamloops right before 9 am. The situation began when a caller reported seeing an erratic driver on Hwy 1.
The driver was allegedly crossing on double solid lines, unable to maintain his lane and travelling at variable speeds. Kamloops RCMP was not in a position to intercept the vehicle so information was passed on to neighbouring detachments.
While other RCMP officers searched for the silver pickup truck, queries on the truck showed that it has been recently stopped in the River City, with the driver being in possession of a handgun.
A short time later, an officer in Clinton located the truck, though it failed to stop and fled from police at a high rate of speed. After passing four vehicles on the wrong side of the road, putting numerous people at-risk, police stopped their pursuit.
The driver failed to stop for more officers in 100 Mile House when they attempted to pull him over. He narrowly missed hitting a member in 150 Mile House when they tried to stop him.
"Just outside of 150 Mile House an officer successfully deployed a spike belt, despite two deflated tires the driver continued to drive on the bare rims, until the truck was demobilized by another spike belt near White Road on Highway 97, in Williams Lake."
"The driver then exited the vehicle and ran down an embankment, in an attempt to escape, and after a brief foot pursuit appeared to be surrendering. However, he refused to comply with the officer’s commands to show his hands and a struggle ensued, with the officer attempting to pull the man’s hands from underneath him, in order to gain control and handcuff him."
This is when the second officer reportedly came into the picture. He was aware the suspect was not complying with the officer so he struck him several times, including one with his foot to "gain control of the suspect and resolve the situation."
The suspect was arrested without further incident and not found to be in possession of a firearm.
"We are fortunate that no one, including the suspect, was physically injured in an incident that can only be described a reckless and dangerous, which put the public and police at risk."
At this point, the driver remains in custody and is expected to appear in Williams Lake court today. He was wanted on seven outstanding warrants for offences including dangerous driving, flight from police, prohibited driving, possession of stolen property and three counts of breach.
"I would like to thank the public for bringing this matter forward. I have full confidence that the review and internal investigation underway will allow for a full capture of the facts that will guide our actions and any other decisions moving forward."
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact Williams Lake RCMP at 250-392-6211.
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