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

RCMP in North Cowichan/Duncan face IIO investigation into 2021 incident

Just over a year after the incident occurred, the Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into the case of a man injured in North Cowichan, following his complaint of maltreatment while he was being booked into police cells.

According to an IIO press release issued April 2, the man was arrested on West Shawnigan Lake Road and transported to the cells within the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment on the evening of Nov. 20, 2021.

“It is reported that there was an interaction between the man and police while the man was being lodged in cells, and that the man sustained injuries during this interaction,” the release reported. “During the night (Nov. 20–21, 2021), the man was transported to a local hospital and released from police custody.”

Roughly one year later, on Nov. 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 Jan. 5, 2023, and initial investigative steps have confirmed that the man sustained serious harm, as defined by the Police Act,” said the release.

“Serious harm” is defined by the Police Act as “injury that may result in death, may cause serious disfigurement or may cause substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any limb or organ.”

The IIO will investigate to learn the details of the police-civilian interaction that night in November 2021 and “whether any officer may have committed an offence.”

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