British Columbia

Mountie did not use excessive force in 2016 arrest, Crown argues in response to civil suit

The claim was made in a response to a civil suit brought by Cuyler Aubichon earlier this year, which alleges Const. Joshua Grafton and the RCMP were "reckless, arrogant, high handed [and] abusive" during the early morning arrest in a Prince George, B.C., alleyway on Feb. 18, 2016.

Const. Joshua Grafton acted within law during arrest of Cuyler Aubichon in Prince George, B.C., defence says

Cuyler Richard Aubichon claims he suffered bites to his hand and face during an arrest in an alley in Prince George, B.C., on Feb. 18, 2016. He is now suing one of the RCMP officers involved in the arrest. (CBC)

Crown defence attorneys deny that RCMP Const. Joshua Grafton used excessive force while arresting Cuyler Richard Aubichon in Prince George, B.C., over four years ago.

The claim was made in a response to a civil suit brought by Aubichon earlier this year, which alleges Grafton and the RCMP were "reckless, arrogant, high handed [and] abusive" during the early morning arrest in a city alleyway on Feb. 18, 2016.

Video of the arrest captured by a backyard camera appears to show a man being pulled from a truck and onto the ground by a police dog. An officer then appears to strike the man several times while the dog continues to engage.

Grafton, along with two other RCMP constables, were criminally charged in June in connection with the arrest. 

WATCH | Surveillance video of the arrest:

Violent arrest by B.C. RCMP caught on video

6 years ago
Duration 2:48
Two men are stomped and kicked after police pull them from an allegedly stolen truck. One suspect's legal team seeks an investigation.

According to the response filed Sept. 25 in B.C. Supreme Court, Aubichon was driving a stolen truck when police boxed him in the alley.

It says while Aubichon's passenger complied with police instructions to raise his hands, Aubichon did not.

"Instead, the plaintiff kept one hand down and out of sight of the RCMP members, reversed the truck, and then drove the truck forward such that it collided with Const. Sharpe's police vehicle, requiring Const. Sharpe to jump aside to avoid being struck."

The response goes on to say that Grafton, concerned Aubichon was trying to flee the scene, deployed the police dog to extract him from the truck.

It says Aubichon fought with the dog, and it was only when he stopped resisting that the dog was called off and he was handcuffed.

Aubichon, an Indigenous man who was 22 at the time of the incident, is from Kamloops, B.C.

In his lawsuit, he claims Grafton "encouraged" the dog to bite his arm. He also alleges Grafton allowed the dog to continue biting him once he was face down on the ground.

Aubichon claims to have suffered injuries to his face, leg, ribs, sternum, hand and the back of his head.

The response says "any force used against the plaintiff was reasonable and justified in law," and that Aubichon's own negligence in failing to co-operate with RCMP, ramming a police vehicle and resisting arrest are to blame for any effects he suffered.

None of the allegations from either side has been proven in court. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karin Larsen

@CBCLarsen

Karin Larsen is a former Olympian and award winning sports broadcaster who covers news and sports for CBC Vancouver.

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