An investigation has found that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officer caused a jaw injury to a man in an incident last summer. (File photo)

Report concludes police not responsible for Island man’s broken jaw

Man claimed RCMP hurt jaw during his apprehension

An independent investigation into an incident involving an RCMP officer in Duncan on Aug. 24, 2017, concluded there is insufficient evidence to lay any charges against the police officer.

At 8:40 a.m. that day, members of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment were called to the residence of a man following reports he was considering suicide.

The man denied he was contemplating suicide and the officers left without incident.

At 11:30 a.m., the man called 911 and reported that he had been assaulted by an unknown man and that his jaw “really hurt”.

At 1:10 p.m., members of Duncan Mental Health reported that the man was suicidal and the same RCMP officers went to the man’s home again and apprehended him under the Mental Health Act and transported him to hospital.

The man later alleged that the injury to his jaw, which was broken, occurred during his apprehension by police.

The Independent Investigations Office of BC then began an investigation to determine if there was any connection between the actions of the officers and the man’s injuries.

The investigation found that the man’s statements to the 911 operator, police and the investigators were inconsistent.

“On two occasions, [the man] stated that his jaw hurt as a result of a punch from another individual,” the report said.

“These both occurred prior to his interaction with [the police officer]. It is only when he reached the hospital that [the man] alleged that the police hurt his jaw.”

The report stated that the only evidence that the man’s injuries were caused by a police officer was from the man himself.

“[The man] also reported to 911 that he had been injured when he was ‘sucker punched’ two times, that he had a ‘really bad jaw’ and that his jaw ‘really hurt’. However, he later described that incident to [the investigators] as a ‘scuffle’ wherein he was not injured.”

Following a review of all the evidence, the report stated that there is “insufficient evidence” to consider that the officer may have committed any offence during this interaction between the man and police, and the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel.

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