Manitoba police watchdog investigates off-duty drinking and driving, excessive force

A few police officers are facing accusations of excessive force and drinking and driving while off duty, Manitoba's police watchdog has revealed among a slew of new investigations it has kept to itself this summer.

13 investigations revealed after election blackout lifted

Manitoba's police watchdog has launched 13 new investigations, it announced this week. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A few police officers face accusations of using excessive force and drinking and driving while off duty, Manitoba's police watchdog says in a news release about investigations started during the provincial election campaign.

The Independent Investigation Unit released information this week about 13 investigations it launched since June 12. It withheld the information because of "restrictions on Crown corporations and government agency advertising and publishing" before last week's provincial election, spokesperson Barbara Czech said.

She said the IIU could only release on investigations that required public assistance, which happened three times during the election blackout.

The watchdog investigates all incidents involving police in which someone is injured or killed.

The new investigations include two cases in which impaired driving by an off-duty officer was suspected. They are examining a May 22 report of a vehicle being driven erratically on Highway 16 in the Neepawa area, as well as a traffic stop west of Steinbach on June 9 in which an officer was served a 72-hour licence suspension. 

The IIU ruled it should investigative these matters because it is in the public interest. 

Hearing loss endured

There were few examples of alleged excessive force, including one altercation in which a 75-year-old man suffered hearing loss while an RCMP officer tried to subdue him. 

There are two separate cases of men suffering broken arms during arrests in June.

In one case, RCMP officers responded to a complaint of a disturbance in Sagkeeng First Nation. A 28-year-old man's arm was broken during his arrest.

In the other case, Winnipeg paramedics called for help when a man was violent and combative in an ambulance, the news release says. The 60-year-old man who was arrested was treated at St. Boniface Hospital for a broken arm.

The watchdog is also investigating after a 28-year-old man in the Roblin area who was trying to run away got into a tractor and drove toward an officer, who fired his gun in the air in response.

There's also an investigation after a police officer in Portage la Prairie pulled his vehicle in front of a man fleeing on a bicycle, and hit him at a low rate of speed. The cyclist was not seriously injured.

In late July, a 36-year-old man in The Pas, armed with a weapon, was wounded by a "less lethal" firearm (a beanbag gun), the IIU said, when he wouldn't surrender his gun.

More from CBC Manitoba: