The province’s police oversight body has determined that a Coquitlam RCMP officer should not be criminally charged for allegedly closing a police vehicle door on the ankle of a man who had been arrested.
The civilian-led Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIOBC), which investigates cases of serious harm or death involving police officers, looked into a Dec. 14, 2018 incident in which two Mounties responded to a brawl between two men on Cottonwood Avenue in Coquitlam. The officers arrested one of the intoxicated men, put him into a police vehicle and stuck him in a cell for the night.
In an interview with the IIOBC, the arrested man said one of the police officers closed the vehicle door on his ankle after arresting him. The man said he told the arresting officer that he was in pain at least four times while in the vehicle and asked to receive medical treatment.
The IIO report states the man said once he was put in a cell, he again told officers that he was in pain but that they said his ankle looked fine. When he wrapped his longjohns around his ankle to support it, he said the officers took the undergarment away and left him with a t-shirt overnight.
By morning, a new officer was on shift and when the arrested man once again spoke up about his ankle, according to the IIO report, the officer could see that it was swollen and called an ambulance. At the hospital, the man said he was told he had a broken fibula that required surgery.
But when IIOBC looked at the medical records, it found he had a spiral fracture that could have resulted in a twisting force and not necessarily a crush.
In the end, IIOBC could not determine whether the spiral fracture was pre-existing to the man’s arrest. Added to that, the arrested man said that the alleged injury at the hands of the officer was not done out of malice and that the officer apologized afterwards.
Without any evidence that the officer intentionally closed the door on the arrested man’s ankle, the IIOBC decided the officer’s alleged actions did not warrant a criminal charge.