British Columbia

No charges recommended against officers involved in Jacobus Jonker death

No charges will be laid against officers involved in the arrests and in-custody handling of Jacobus Jonker, who died a week after attacking an officer following his arrest, according to a report from the B.C.'s prosecution service.

The investigation focused on use-of-force and the use of head and chest restraint of the 53-year-old man

Jacobus Jonker, 53, of Smithers died after he was involved in a struggle in custody of the Smithers RCMP on Feb. 14, 2015. (Google Maps)

No charges will be laid against Smithers, B.C., RCMP officers involved in the death of Jacobus Jonker.

The rugby coach died a week after a Valentine's Day arrest in 2015, according to a statement from the provincial prosecution service.

But after a review of the actions of the officers, prosecutors found a lack of evidence of any crime or use of excessive force.

The report by the B.C. Prosecutor's Service was released Thursday after an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which reviews police actions in which people are killed or seriously injured by police offices. The IIO determines if officers have committed any offences then submits its report to Crown Counsel.

Jonker, 53, was arrested at his Smithers home after his daughter called 911 saying her father was "horribly drunk," suicidal and waving a knife at 10:34 p.m. PT on Feb. 14, 2015.

"The father was suicidal, and that he had just opened his gun safe and was aiming a firearm at his family," said the report, which reviewed the incident and police use-of-force in Jonker's death.

The family fled to a neighbour's residence, and police arrived around 11 p.m., RCMP said.

RCMP officers pepper-sprayed Jonker and drove him to the Smithers RCMP detachment, where the report says he became belligerent, then threatened and attacked an officer.

Most of the interaction was captured on video, according to the report.

The prosecutor's office said Jonker became aggressive and grabbed an officer's gun during the booking process as officers offered to wash off pepper spray.

"The suspect asked repeatedly who had pepper-sprayed him. The subject officer eventually was identified as the officer who used the pepper spray. In response, the suspect pointed his finger at the subject officer and told him he would 'take care of him' that he would 'teach him a lesson.'"

As Jonker was moved toward a cell, a supervisor involved in the process said he felt threatened.

"From the subject's posture and look on his face and eyes it was clear to me that he was about to attack me. I backed up trying in an effort to reposition and give myself time and room to react, however the subject came at me quickly," the unnamed RCMP supervisor told investigators.

That's when Jonker rushed at the officer, the supervisor told investigators.

After Jonker attacked the officer, other officers helped restrain him, say authorities.

In the struggle, Jonker was held around the head and neck by an assisting officer, the report said.

"After a brief struggle the suspect stopped resisting and went limp. The officers rolled him over and found that he had stopped breathing," according to the summary of the facts in the case.

Officers tried to revive Jonker, who resumed breathing but did not regain consciousness. He was transported to Bulkley Valley General Hospital and then to Victoria General Hospital, where he died on Feb. 21, 2015.