Watchdog probe launched a year after man suffers ‘serious harm’ in Island police custody

More than a year after the incident, B.C.’s Independent Investigative Office is investigating a man who was injured in North Cowichan after complaining of ill-treatment while in a police cell.

According to a press release from IIO on April 2, the man was arrested on the evening of November 20, 2021, on West Shawnigan Lake Road and taken to a cell within the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.

“The man was reportedly injured in an interaction with police officers while held in a cell,” the release said. “During the night (November 20-21, 2021), the man was taken to a local hospital and released by police.”

About a year later, on November 16, 2022, the man filed a complaint with the RCMP. It took nearly two months for the RCMP to alert the IIO.

“The RCMP notified the IIO on January 5, 2023, and initial investigative steps confirmed that the man had suffered serious injury as defined in the Police Act,” the release said.

The Police Act defines “serious injury” as “an injury likely to result in death, likely to cause serious disfigurement, or likely to result in serious loss or impairment of general physical mobility or the function of any limb or organ”.

The IIO will launch an investigation to learn details of the police-civilian interactions that night in November 2021 and “whether any officers may have broken the law”.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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