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B.C.'s police watchdog says guard's treatment of prisoner could be torture

SURREY, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog says an officer’s use of force during the arrest of a drunken man in Prince George was reasonable, but the “torture” he later received in jail by a civilian guard could be seen as criminal.
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The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. British Columbia’s police watchdog says an officer’s use of force during the arrest of a drunken man in Prince George was reasonable, but the “torture” he later received in the jail by a civilian guard could be seen as criminal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

SURREY, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog says an officer’s use of force during the arrest of a drunken man in Prince George was reasonable, but the “torture” he later received in jail by a civilian guard could be seen as criminal. 

A report issued by Ronald MacDonald of the Independent Investigations Office says the man's hip was broken when he pulled out a weapon and was thrown to the ground during the arrest in May 2019. 

On his way to jail, he complained of a broken leg, but was placed in a cell without getting health care. 

MacDonald’s report says a civilian witness said the man screamed in pain all night but when he asked the female guard for care, he was told it wasn't her problem.

His report says they found evidence the guard’s attitude toward prisoners was motivated by revenge of some sort, and her failure to provide care could be considered torture under the Criminal Code. 

MacDonald passed the results of the investigation onto RCMP, but the report says a subsequent police investigation was completed and no criminal charges against the guard would be referred to the Crown. 

The evidence shows the guard was aware the man thought his leg was broken and he spent the night on the floor crying, shouting or screaming in obvious distress, the report says. 

"Her significant antipathy toward prisoners, towards (the man) specifically, was demonstrated by her own responses in the (investigator's) interview.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2022. 

The Canadian Press