A Delta police officer won’t be charged, after an off-duty cop was injured by an on-duty police dog, during a night-time chase in Surrey, back in 2021.
The B.C. Prosecution Service said Wednesday that the evidence doesn’t meet its charge assessment standards and that it’s not able to prove that police committed any offence.
On May 29, 2021, plain clothes Abbotsford police officers has a woman under surveillance who was recently arrested for being in a stolen car, according to a statement from the prosecution service.
Soon after, she was seen getting into a stolen pickup truck with two men, after which the pickup headed to Surrey.
The Surrey crime reduction unit then took over and saw the truck park in an alley. After police turned on their lights, the truck took off, driving across properties, then smashing into two parked vehicles, with a man and a woman then baling out of the truck.
Police continued the chase on foot hearing also that the man, wearing dark clothes, could be packing a firearm.
The Delta officer, who had the police service dog, and two other officers, were part of the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service, which took up the chase.
Soon after the pickup crashed into the parked vehicles, police saw a man, dressed in dark clothing, run towards a back yard, while the woman stopped and put up her hands for police.
However, police then saw a man, wearing all dark clothing, move through the front yard, jump over a hedge, and continue into a back yard.
Police caught up to the man, with one canine officer pushing him to the ground while the Delta officer’s dog bit the man in the lower leg. Police soon realized they had the wrong guy and found the actual suspect nearby.
However, the man who was first tackled, an off-duty officer for a municipal police force, had a serious dog bite and had to go to hospital for 12 staples to close the wound.
According to the B.C. Prosecution Service, based on the off-duty officer’s account, he was in his driveway when he heard the crash nearby.
He went to get his phone and when he came back, saw a man and woman running to the back yard of a neighbour’s house.
The off-duty officer followed the suspects and saw a man with a flashlight and heard someone say “stop.” Then he told the woman to stop although he didn’t see or hear any police lights or sirens.
Then he saw four people, who had no reflective markings and were not shouting ‘police’ and told them he was not involved.
The off-duty officer said the dog was off leash and that he was then tackled by one of the officers and landed face down on the ground, “and felt a pull on his left leg.”
Within seconds, the officers had gone.
According to the prosecution service statement, police believed that the man who was first tackled was the actual suspect.
And even if he wasn’t, the real issue is whether the use of force to catch the off-duty officer was reasonable, said the prosecution service. The question is whether the use of force was justified under the Criminal Code.
As a result, the Crown would have to prove that the arresting officers were not justified in using the force that they did.
But given a possible firearm being involved and that the man wasn’t securely apprehended, the use of a police dog was reasonable, said the statement.
While the off-duty officer told police he was not involved and did not resist arrest, police were involved in a dynamic arrest of someone they thought had “aggressively” avoided being caught for half an hour, the statement said.
The Crown wouldn’t be able to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the force used was unreasonable, the prosecution service concluded.
The initial investigation was done by the Independent Investigations Office, which referred it to the B.C. Prosecution Service.