(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

B.C.’s police watchdog has cleared a Penticton Mountie of any wrongdoing after a man died in hospital following his arrest.

According to the Independent Investigations Office of BC, a man was arrested in Penticton on November 8, 2019, after he allegedly shoplifted two frozen pizzas from a local supermarket.

An officer arrived on scene to find the suspect walking down a street. He called to the man to stop but the suspect started to run away, according to a police watchdog report released Thursday, Aug.13.

The officer pursued the suspect on foot and managed to catch up with the man and grab his right arm, causing him to fall to onto a curb.

The officer held the suspect down by kneeling on his back or buttocks area while calling for assistance. Two more officers arrive on the scene and attempted to arrest the suspect; however, the man became agitated and resisted, the report reads.

READ MORE: Police watchdog clears RCMP of wrongdoing in West Kelowna man’s death

After the man managed to be placed in handcuffs an officer noticed a minor injury to the suspect’s face and called an ambulance. The suspect was described as elderly and ‘out of it’ by RCMP.

A woman who witnessed the arrest called the IIO to report the incident, claiming there was no need for several officers to attend and that the man had tried to walk away and the RCMP’s use of force was unnecessary.

Video obtained by the police watchdog showed no apparent force was applied to the suspect. Other witnesses to the arrest also confirmed they did not believe excessive force was used.

The man was eventually taken to the hospital and apprehended under the Mental Health Act. However, he left the hospital without permission on the morning of Nov. 8 and was later escorted back without incident by a different RCMP officer.

While in the hospital, the man reportedly remained active but somewhat agitated. On Nov. 11 he became short of breath. A chest X-ray showed he had three broken ribs and blood was pooling between his chest wall and lungs. The man was treated with a chest tube, which was later removed.

On Nov. 14, the man again experienced shortness of breath and died.

The autopsy report listed the cause of death as “pulmonary thromboembolism, due to blockages of blood vessels inside the lungs caused by blood clots in the legs.”

The police watchdog reviewed the case and determined the original officer who detained the suspect was justified in pursuing him for the arrest and that the officer was entitled to use of force in the course of carrying out police duties.

The two officers who later arrived on scene to arrest the suspect used no more force than necessary to restrain the man, according to the IIO.

Although the IIO report states the suspect in question may have suffered a serious injury during his arrest, it was not apparent to anyone at the time including medical personnel who dealt with the man at the RCMP detachment and hospital.

The Police Act requires the IIO to investigate incidents where there is serious harm or death as a result of police action.

READ MORE: B.C.’s police watchdog investigating Kelowna RCMP’s actions after man’s death

p>

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The Golden Nordic Club is working towards a COVID-safe winter ski season opening. (File photo)
Golden Nordic Ski Club working towards opening

While Dawn Mountain is provincially run and open, the chalet and Nordic Club are not as of yet

The Interact Club meets in 2019 for their annual Anti-Grinch project. This year, the club members will add the Angel Tree to their list of Christmas charitable causes. (Contributed)
Interact Club takes on Angel Tree

With changes to this year’s Anti-Grinch project, there is increased capacity for the Angel Tree

santa.
Morning Start: Santa Claus has an official pilot’s license

Your morning start for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Alix Longland
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Grinch stolen from Penticton home is ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Most Read