North

2 Yellowknife officers charged for use of force in connection to arrest of Whatı̀ woman last fall

Cst. Francesca Bechard and Cpl. Jason Archer each face 1 count of assault. Both officers are still working at the Yellowknife detachment.

Cst. Francesca Bechard and Cpl. Jason Archer each face 1 count of assault

An RCMP cruiser in Yellowknife in July. Two officers have been charged with assault in connection to an incident on Oct. 14, 2020. (Liny Lamberink/CBC)

Two RCMP officers based in Yellowknife have been charged with assault, according to a news release from N.W.T. RCMP on Wednesday, and both remain working at the Yellowknife detachment. 

The charges stem back to an incident last fall, on Oct. 14, 2020, when police were lodging a woman in cells, the release said. 

That night, police arrested 25-year-old Tracella Romie of Whatı̀

In January, Romie told CBC News she was put in the back of an RCMP vehicle by two officers and brought to the Yellowknife detachment, where two other officers also detained her.

Romie said she was intoxicated and remembers very little of that night, but she does remember spitting up blood and officers pulling her handcuffed hands high in the air in a painful manner. When she was released, she went to a friend's house and found bruises on her back, shoulders and wrists.

Police said the incident was later reported by a senior officer of Yellowknife detachment, and the officer in charge of the detachment requested a criminal investigation, which was undertaken by Alberta RCMP, as an outside independent police agency.

The investigation was then sent to the Crown prosecution's office for evaluation, the release said, and the Crown recommended charges.  

Cst. Francesca Bechard and Cpl. Jason Archer each face one count of assault under the criminal code. The charges have not been proven in court. 

Both officers remain working at the Yellowknife detachment, the news release said, without specifying what duties the officers are responsible for. 

They are set to appear in territorial court on Sept. 14.

RCMP said since this is now before the courts, they will provide no further comment.

With files from Hilary Bird

now