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

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw 14 cases reported, the biggest single-day total since the beginning of the pandemic

This weapon was seized by Houston RCMP after a traffic stop Oct. 14 (Houston RCMP photo)
Guns, cash and suspected narcotics seized

Seizure follows traffic stop on Oct. 14

Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus. (File photo)
COVID-19 and influenza update from Bulkley Valley medical staff

Local MDs urge vaccinations and mask wearing to combat virus duo

This photo of approximately 10 years ago shows Laureen Fabian, on the left, and daughter Caterina Andrews. Fabian went missing last October and her daughter is looking for answers. (Contributed photo)
Laureen Fabian’s disappearance remains a mystery

It’s been a year since she went missing

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Most Read