Manitoba police watchdog lays no charges against dog handler whose dog bit 2 people during arrest
Both people were sent to hospital; one of them required surgery for their injuries, says the IIU
Manitoba's police oversight agency will not charge an RCMP officer involved in an incident where two people were sent to hospital after being bitten by a police dog during an arrest last summer.
On Aug. 13, 2020, RCMP received information that a man — his age was not specified — was trafficking meth from a camper on Sandy Bay First Nation, about 130 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. He was believed to have armed guards, according to the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba's final report released Monday.
Because the camper was on a reserve, the RCMP contacted the Manitoba First Nations Police, who obtained a search warrant, the report says.
The RCMP emergency response team, including a member of the police dog services and his dog, was asked to help because of the potential risk in executing the warrant, the report says.
The raid resulted in seven people being arrested and charged under Canada's Controlled Drug and Substances Act, the report says.
Two of the people arrested — a woman and a man, whose respective ages were not given — were bitten by the police dog. Both were sent to hospital in Portage La Prairie, nearly 70 kilometres south of Sandy Bay First Nation. The bite seriously injured the woman's left leg and it required surgery, the report says.
A burn, cut or laceration that require admission to a hospital on an in-patient basis is defined as a serious injury under IIU regulations, so it must investigate.
The dog handler became the subject of the investigation, according to the report.
The IIU interviewed the woman who was bitten, eight police officers who were at the scene and a civilian witness. The dog handler declined an interview and to provide his notes, but gave a written statement.
Investigators also reviewed various police reports and policies, officers' notes, photos and video footage, radio transmissions and obtained a copy of the dog handler's yearly validation certificate, the report says.
Ultimately, the IIU found the dog handler used the police dog in accordance with RCMP policy and training, and using the dog was appropriate and justified under the circumstances, the report says.
"I am not satisfied that any reasonable grounds exist in these circumstances to justify the laying of any criminal code or other offence against [the subject officer]," said Zane Tessler, civilian director of the IIU.