An RCMP officer in Nunavut did “not intentionally strike” an Inuk man with his truck’s door over the course of an arrest last June, according to external investigators with the Ottawa Police Service.
The OPS announced the results of its investigation on Tuesday, in which the service recommended no criminal charges against the officer in question.
The Ottawa police have an agreement with the RCMP and the Nunavut government to act as third-party investigators in major incidents involving the mounted police.
In this instance, the OPS criminal investigation was tied to an incident on June 1 in Kinngait.
Video surfaced on social media showing a man stumbling across a slushy, snowy road before a pickup truck, with the driver’s door open, pulls up behind him and plows into him, knocking him to the ground.
RCMP said the man was then arrested and placed in a Kinngait jail, where he was allegedly beaten by another inmate. He was then flown to Iqaluit for further medical attention.
The arresting officer was placed on administrative duties in the aftermath of the incident.
The OPS investigators dispatched to Kinngait interviewed 10 witnesses, both civilian and police members, and examined the scene and the police vehicle involved. A review of third-party video was also part of the OPS investigation.
“The investigation has determined that the RCMP officer driving the vehicle did not intentionally strike the community member with the vehicle door – whereas the vehicle came to a sliding stop on a snow and ice covered track, the driver’s front tire went off the track, the vehicle dipped forward and the opened driver’s door swung forward and struck the community member,” the OPS wrote in a media release on Tuesday.
The Ottawa police concluded the incident “does not meet the threshold of a criminal offence” of assault or assault with a weapon “as the applied force was unintentional.”
The OPS said it would not comment further on the incident.
The RCMP also said in a release it would not comment on the investigations or the OPS findings so as not to influence both an ongoing internal review and an independent public interest investigation launched by the Civilian Review & Complaints Commission for the force.
The independent investigation will look to see whether racial bias could have played a role in the incident.
More to come.
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