A Smithers RCMP officer is being investigated over accusations he used excessive force to try to handcuff a 61-year-old woman outside Mark's clothing store in Smithers.

Smithers RCMP officer being investigated over excessive force accusation

A Smithers police officer is being investigated over an accusation he used excessive force to try to handcuff a 61-year-old woman.

A Smithers police officer is being investigated over an accusation he used excessive force to try to handcuff a 61-year-old woman outside Mark’s clothing store on Dec. 6.

Irene Joseph made a formal complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP about an officer she claims used excessive force when he allegedly knocked her to the ground.

The CRCC is the federal government’s independent investigator for complaints about the conduct of RCMP officers.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is also investigating.

Joseph claims the officer hurt her knees and chest and damaged her walker and glasses when he tried to handcuff her.

She said the incident occurred when the officer was questioning her about a suspect in a theft at the store.

Joseph claims she became confused and upset about why she was being questioned and she tried to get away from the officer.

She said there was a shouting match before the officer tried to handcuff her.

When she resisted, she claims he knocked her to the ground

He knocked me down, I was trying to get my walker and by then he knocked me down and he was just on my back,” she said.

He had his leg on my back and he had the other leg in my side where he was trying to reach my arm.

Knocking me to the ground and stuff like that, it wasn’t necessary.”

Joseph said the officer did not handcuff her after the scuffle and he did not take her to the station.

RCMP staff Sgt. Kirsten Marshall said Joseph was detained because she did not comply with verbal directions from the officer.

During the detention, the police officer restrained the person when they resisted and called for a second officer,” she said.

Despite the officer’s attempts, the individual failed to comply with commands and was eventually restrained and arrested.

The officer asked if the individual required medical attention, which was refused.”

Marshall said no criminal charges had been made regarding the initial theft and that the investigation was ongoing.

She said the detachment helped Joseph with her request to make a formal complaint with the CRCC.

BC Civil Liberties Association executive director Josh Paterson said his organization was investigating the claim and it would assist Joseph wherever possible, although the association does not provide legal representation.

Our interest is that police forces, wherever they are in the province, be held accountable for the excessive use of force and from everything that we have heard about this case, it certainly seems that there has been an excessive use of force here,” Paterson said.

We were not there on the scene but from what we can glean at the moment, it is difficult to imagine any set of circumstances in which taking a 61-year-old Wet’suwet’en elder to the ground would have been necessary in this situation.

Our role is as a public watchdog to basically ensure that the public are made aware of what happened.”

Mayor Taylor Bachrach was at a community food drive in the Safeway parking lot when someone told him about an incident outside the nearby Mark’s.

There was an elderly woman there who said that she needed to get to the hospital and I arranged for her to get to the hospital,” he said.

She was distraught.”

 

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

Just Posted

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read