The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. has found that the actions of police were not responsible for the death of a fleeing unclothed man in Port Alberni on November 28 this year.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.
RCMP reported that on November 28, 2019, at approximately 3:00 a.m., a call was received regarding an unclothed male in a public place. Officers attended and located the male, but he fled on foot and entered the tributary of Port Alberni inlet.
Officers entered the water in an attempt to assist the male but were unsuccessful.
The IIO investigation demonstrated that the police responded to a male who had suffered injuries, with the intent to obtain medical assistance for him. He responded by running from police and entering the water.
Two officers, one after the other, without regard for their own safety, entered the frigid water in attempts to save the male, who ignored officers and moved further out from shore. Both officers had to return to shore due to the impact of the cold water on their bodies.
The male’s body was recovered approximately one hour later by Search and Rescue Personnel utilising appropriate cold-water recovery equipment.
There is no evidence to indicate the actions of police were responsible for this tragic death. More accurately their efforts were an attempt to save his life.