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Canada: five RCMP officers charged over Indigenous man’s 2017 death in custody | Canada

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Five Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers have been charged with the death of an Indigenous man nearly six years after he died in police custody.

Dale Culver, 35, was arrested by police in 2017 in the city of Prince George, British Columbia. Police say there was a fight between police and his Culver, a member of Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan First Nations, who tried to escape on a bicycle.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor announced manslaughter charges against Constables Paul Sainte-Marie and Jean-François Monet. They also charged Sergeant Eusebio Kur with attempted obstruction.

Pepper spray was used against Culver during his arrest, according to BC’s Independent Investigative Agency (IIO), the state’s police oversight agency. After being placed in the back seat of a police car, Culver complained of difficulty breathing. Paramedics arrived and Culver collapsed as he was removed from the police car. The father of three children was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after midnight.

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) cited eyewitness reports that Culver was “forced to the ground” by police, and RCMP members urged bystanders to delete the cell phone video of the arrest. It said it had “troublesome allegations” that it had been sent to

“This will provide strong grounds for questioning the accuracy of certain RCMP member statements and notes to investigators, as well as the RCMP’s official statements,” the BCCLA wrote in its 2018 letter. increase.

Fragmented relations between Indigenous communities and the RCMP are marked by mistrust, particularly in northwestern British Columbia.In recent years, activists clashed with the police About the Controversial Pipeline Project report The police were ready to use lethal force against indigenous land defenders.

Crown was first asked to consider indictment against the officer in March 2020, three years after his death, following a recommendation from the IIO.

At that time, community members Murder of George Floyd By police in Minneapolis, Minnesota – and relatively quickly the officers were charged.

“My brother was four when it happened and my sister was six months old. She will never get to know her father,” Culver’s daughter, Lily Speed-Namox, said in 2020. told the Canadian Press.

According to the RCMP, four of the officers remained on active duty after Culver’s death. Only McDonald’s is on vacation, but that has nothing to do with the prosecution.

The delay in prosecution stemmed from new evidence coming to light in 2019 when police watchdogs met with family members and community members, and a one-year delay in conducting an autopsy.

“In this case, there are concerns about a timeline of nearly six years, but it puts undue stress on the man’s family, our members and their families, and the community that has been seeking clarity and answers about what happened. RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said in a statement:

Brian Sove, president of the National Police Federation, which represents nearly 20,000 RCMP members, said in a statement that the delay in prosecution had created a “protracted period of uncertainty” for police, Culver’s family and the community. rice field.

Officers are scheduled to appear in Prince George’s court on March 14.

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