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Police watchdog to review Yukon RCMP use of weapon on hatchet-wielding woman

Investigators have been called in to review Yukon RCMP's use of a "less lethal" sponge projectile-firing weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman in Whitehorse earlier this month.

Police used sponge-projectile weapon to subdue woman in Whitehorse incident earlier this month

Police say they used an 'extended range impact weapon' to subdue a woman armed with a hatchet who was trying to break into the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon in downtown Whitehorse on June 4. (Steve Silva/CBC)

Investigators have been called in to review Yukon RCMP's use of a "less lethal" sponge projectile-firing weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman in Whitehorse earlier this month.

In a news release on Tuesday, police say they responded to a call on the evening of June 4 to find a woman trying to break into the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon downtown. The "agitated" woman was armed with a hatchet.

Police say they attempted to mollify the woman but were unable. They then used an "extended range impact weapon" in order to arrest her. 

The news release describes the weapon as "a less lethal option that fires large sponge or silicon-tipped rounds." 

According to the RCMP's Incident Management Intervention Model, it's considered an "intermediate weapon" and it allows officers to respond to a critical incident from a greater distance. 

The woman's hand was injured by the weapon and she was taken to hospital.

Yukon's Justice department has asked the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to review the incident. ASIRT's role is to investigate police actions that may have injured or killed someone, or any allegations of police misconduct. 

The woman arrested in Whitehorse is now in custody awaiting a court appearance on several charges. Police say at the time of the incident, she had been under a court order to stay away from the Multicultural Centre. 

The woman arrested was under a court order to stay away from the Multicultural Centre, police say. (Steve Silva/CBC)

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