Mountie cleared after man ends up with broken rib, punctured lung
New Year's Eve traffic stop near Blackfalds, Alta., led to ASIRT investigation
An RCMP officer who kicked a man at least twice while trying to control him during a traffic stop in central Alberta has been cleared of wrongdoing, despite the fact the man ended up in hospital with a broken rib and punctured lung.
Inconsistencies between witness statements and the possibility that the man's rib injuries were caused when the truck he was in plowed into a ditch precluded any charges against the officer, Susan Hughson, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, said in a news release.
On New Year's Eve 2014, officers tried to pull over a pickup truck near Blackfalds as it drove in a peculiar manner with its high beams on.
The truck failed to stop, even striking the arm of an officer who had left his car to wave the truck over.
The officer, with the help of a second patrol car, gave chase.
During the pursuit, the people in the truck could be seen throwing beer cans out the back cab window.
The truck eventually drove through a T-intersection and into the ditch.
Three passengers in the truck, two women and a 47-year-old man, got out of the truck. The driver, later determined to be too drunk to drive, remained inside.
Man approached officers swearing
The officer ordered the passengers to the ground. The women complied, but the man approached the officers sputtering profanity.
The officer said he hit the man with his service pistol. The man fell, but refused to stay down, so the officer kicked him in the torso two or three times. He was able to control the man long enough to handcuff him.
The man claimed he was kicked in the head twice and the ribs three times, causing him to lose consciousness.
ASIRT investigated but could not conclude unnecessary force was used.
The female passengers gave differing versions of events and the reliability of their accounts was further undermined by the fact that they had been drinking, the news release said.
Also while it was likely the man's injuries came during the arrest, it's possible he was hurt when the truck left the road.
"The most reasonable inference is that the injuries were sustained as a result of the force used, the possibility that the injuries could have been caused by the single vehicle leaving the roadway, going through a sign and then into a ditch cannot be unequivocally eliminated."
ASIRT investigates incidents where the actions of police result in serious injury or death.