Police takedown of alleged truck thief sparks calls for investigation
'It certainly looks shocking,' the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says
Backyard surveillance video of an early-morning Prince George RCMP takedown last month is raising concerns about police use of force.
21-year-old Cuyler Richard Aubichon was pulled from an allegedly stolen truck and arrested with another man on Feb. 18 in a Prince George alley around 6:30 a.m. PT.
The arrest was captured on the security camera of a house on Oak Street. Video of that arrest was posted on social media and later provided to CBC.
The video shows snow falling on a dark alley before a truck is boxed in in the alleyway and the arrest is flood-lit by the headlights of an RCMP cruiser.
It shows what appears to be a man pulled from a truck by RCMP working with a police dog. After the man exits the truck, the dog lunges at him, and an officer appears to strike him while he is on the ground.
A second man in the vehicle is pulled from the passenger side and appears to be stomped and kicked by officers.
Lawyer Liam Cooper told CBC News today that Aubichon's legal team plans to request an investigation into the actions of the RCMP officers involved in the arrest who are visible on the video.
"We are concerned for what the video appears to show," Liam Cooper, agent for lawyer Jason Lebond, told CBC. " We'd like to know for the citizens in Prince George if what we see in this video is acceptable police conduct."
"The RCMP takes concerns about member conduct very seriously. This video will be reviewed, along with the mandatory use of force reporting that has occurred, to ensure that our tactics and actions comply with training, policy, and member conduct expectations," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Perry Smith.
After this arrest in February, Aubichon was charged with possession of stolen property, obstructing arrest and possession of a controlled substance.
He's currently in custody. He is scheduled for a bail hearing today.
Aubichon's criminal record includes drug trafficking and assault charges. He'd previously served 57 days in jail.
A written RCMP statement given to CBC says police became aware of the video and the concerns on March 16.
B.C. Civil Liberties Association spokesman Josh Patterson said the video is troubling.
"Well, it certainly looks shocking, from what appears on the video. We have police dogs biting someone ... it raises really troubling questions about whether the use of force was excessive in those circumstances."
Patterson said he hopes the Independent Investigations Office, the civilian agency responsible for police oversight, will investigate.
IIO officials told CBC today they have not been formally notified about the incident.
With files from Yvette Brend