RCMP Const. Darrin Meier on top of Irene Joseph next to Mark’s Work Warehouse on Dec. 6, 2014. (File photo)

First Nation elder’s trial accusing B.C. Mountie of excessive force begins

Irene Joseph says run-in with Const. Darrin Meier in 2014 has left her with psychological damage

This story has been updated to include some of the police officer’s response to the civil claim against him. Const. Darrin Meier is expected to testify in court in Smithers on Dec. 4.

A Wet’suwet’en elder described how a police officer knocked her over and stood on her ankle outside a clothing store in Smithers as a civil trial on possible excessive force began this week.

Irene Joseph told a B.C. Supreme Court judge she had gone to Mark’s Work Wearhouse in Smithers on Dec. 4, 2014. She said she ran into an acquaintance whose name she’d forgotten.

The acquaintance, a woman, had allegedly stolen items from the store.

Joseph bought a scarf and left. She said she was met outside by an RCMP officer she would later learn was Const. Darrin Meier, who asked her for the other woman’s name. Meier has denied all allegations.

READ MORE: B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Joseph said she told Meier she didn’t know the woman’s name, and that it was embarrassing being questioned right outside the store.

“I told him I wanted to go to the side of the store and he could talk to me there,” Joseph said. “But he was pushing me – asking me who she was and he just [wouldn’t] stop.”

Joseph, then 61 years old, said she tried to sit on her walker, which she uses because of an ankle injury, but Meier stopped her and began to rummage through her purse. He then tried to handcuff her, Joesph said, and she resisted.

“I wasn’t going to get cuffed for something I didn’t do.”

She said Meier’s feet knocked the front part of her leg and she fell to the ground head first. She said she concealed her hands under her body to prevent him from handcuffing her.

A struggle ensued, and the officer eventually stood on her ankle for what she estimated was 10 to 15 minutes but felt “like hours.” She said Meier felt like he weighed around 300 lbs. in full uniform.

After a period of time, another RCMP officer arrived. Meier released his hold, the two officers questioned her for a few more minutes, then left.

Joesph said the entire ordeal left her upset and confused.

“I just walked back to my walker and sat down,” she said. “I just felt so dirty.”

She is seeking general, aggravated, and punitive damages.

Her lawyer, Ian Lawson, said the incident has caused her ongoing psychological stress, including fear of leaving the house she has lived in for 33 years.

The court is scheduled to hear Meier’s testimony today.

In his response to Joseph’s initial claim in 2015, Meier argued he had reasonable grounds to believe she had shoplifted, after speaking to the store manager. However, his response clearly stated she paid for her scarf.

He said she refused to speak to him multiple times, so he took her arm and told her she was under arrest for theft. When she resisted, he said he attempted a “foot sweep manoeuvre” and she dropped to the ground, and hid her hands.

“Const. Meier was required, justified and authorized to arrest and detain the plaintiff without warrant and to use as much force as necessary for that purpose,” his response said.

READ MORE: Smithers RCMP officer being investigated over excessive force



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Police seek victims of alleged Prince George pedophile

Kevin James Belcourt has been charged with several sex crimes involving a girl under 16

Telkwa lifts boil water advisory

The Village of Telkwa has just announced that as of 3:00 p.m.… Continue reading

Chevron’s move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

New report into sawmill explosions released

The report recommends streamlining investigative process

No parole for 12 years for Burns Lake man convicted of second degree murder

Judge said he did not believe Albert Giesbrecht’s claim his gun discharged accidentally

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Most Read