No charges will be recommended against an RCMP officer after a man was bitten by a police dog forcefully enough that his arm was broken.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. released a report today, Dec. 18, on a case from July 28 in which a man was detained while police were investigating a nearby wire theft south of Nanaimo along the Trans-Canada Highway. The man who was bitten was not the suspect and was camping “off-grid,” the report noted.
According to the IIO report, the RCMP officer said “his risk assessment was high, as the suspect had a history of violence and weapon use and was likely in possession of edged instruments used for cutting and stripping wire.”
The report notes that the man who was bitten said the dog “bit his right arm and held on, pulling and twisting, for about five minutes while the handler … told the dog to ‘dig in.’
“[The man]’s arm was seriously injured, with multiple wounds and two fractures.”
The RCMP officer’s account was that the man was found hiding behind a tree, “and given the nature of the area [the officer] thought it unlikely that anyone else would be in the vicinity.”
After taking into custody the man who had been bitten, the officer continued to track past the man’s camp and found a discarded backpack “with tools suitable for stealing copper wire” but the suspect was not located.
The IIO noted that if the man who was bitten was hiding, it might have been because he was camping off-grid, and he stepped out from his hiding space as instructed by the arresting officer.
“The actions of the police dog in this case were unfortunate and, it seems, unnecessary. They do not appear, though, to have been the result of an initial order to the dog,” the report notes.
The IIO determined the officer “was acting in the course of his duty” and the case will not be referred to Crown counsel.
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