Complaint against Prince George RCMP in death of Wet’suwet’en man

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in Prince George RCMP custody last summer.

(BCCLA photo)

A complaint has been filed against the RCMP for alleged evidence destruction and use of force in the police-involved death of a Wet’suwet’en man formerly from Moricetown.

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in police custody on July 18 in Prince George.

Moricetown man dies in custody

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed the complaint last week raising allegations that members of the Prince George RCMP told witnesses to delete cellphone video evidence of the incident. In the complaint, the BCCLA questioned whether racial bias on the part of the officers played a role in the incident.

According to a press release from The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), who is also currently investigating the incident, Prince George RCMP officers were responding to a call of a male casing vehicles on the night in questions. Officers attempted to take him into custody when a struggle ensued and they used pepperspray. Culver appeared to be having trouble breathing and police requested medical assistance. Police said once the ambulance arrived, he was taken out of the police vehicle and collapsed. He was pronounced dead in the hospital shortly after midnight.

BCCLA said they understand, based on reports, that the RCMP saw Culver hours after the call had been made, and had no information that he was connected to any suspicious activity when they began to question him.

Cellphone footage and photos apparently related to the incident appear to show a large number of officers pinning a subject to the ground.

BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson said these allegations need to be looked at.

“For years there has been allegations of systemic discrimination against First Nation individuals by police, not only in northern B.C. but around the province. We have concerns and the complaint raises the question whether or not racial bias may have played a role here. To be clear, we aren’t alleging that it did but we don’t know. I wasn’t in those officers’ heads when they made the decisions they made. But we think it needs to be investigated,” said Paterson.

Paterson added the level of use of force and the treatment after he was peppersprayed also needs to be investigated.

“Why did he wind up dead? Was there a mistake or a breach of rules or misconduct that contributed to his death? We know one thing for sure, he shouldn’t be dead today,” he said.

The BCCLA is also aware of troubling allegations that RCMP members told some witnesses to delete cellphone video that they had taken.

“If that is true, then that is a crime,” said Paterson. “The IIO said they are hoping witnesses contact them if they were aware of people being asked to do that or if they themselves were asked to do that. It would also be misconduct, in addition to being potentially criminal interference of an investigation. It is the job of police to investigate crimes, not to try and cover up evidence.”

In general, a compliant can take several years to be resolved.

“It is unfortunate that it takes that long because timelines are important in order to maintain public confidence in the complaint process but that is the fact of it, they often take a long time so we will be waiting to see what happens,” said Paterson. “The family of Mr. Culver and the community needs answers. Why is Dale dead? How did it happen and can it be prevented from happening to someone else?”

 

Just Posted

Trumpeter Donnie Clark returning to Williams Lake

Donnie Clark is one of Canada’s leading trumpet and flugelhorn players.

Bus company eyeing passenger and cargo service departing from Williams Lake, stopping in Quesnel

Merritt Bus Shuttle Services Ltd. would have a driver based in Williams Lake for the route to Prince George

Williams Lake city council settles for $5 airport passenger facility fee increase

Originally council was debating establishing a $10 airport improvement fee

Rain, sleet and snow arrives in the Cariboo

Freezing rain in the forecast overnight

Pinettes land medals early at PanAm Waterski Championships

Parnell and Lucas Pinette have skied to medals so far at the PanAm Waterski Championships

UPDATE: West Fraser to permanently reduce production in Quesnel, Fraser Lake

The move, due to log supply shortages, will affect 75 employees in Quesnel, 60 in Fraser Lake

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

Talent show: B.C. girl, 8, memorizes entire periodic table

Grade 4 student Maya Lakhanpal heads to B.C. talent show finals with unique talent

Most Read