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Arrestee in wild takedown files lawsuit against Prince George RCMP

Dilmeet Singh Chahal says he was Tazered in the face, punched and slammed against car seat
Prince George RCMP deal with the aftermath of a high-stakes arrest in the area of Winnipeg and Fourth Avenue on Aug. 22, 2022.

One of the men facing charges from a wild pursuit and arrest last summer has filed a lawsuit alleging mistreatment at the hands of the arresting Prince George RCMP officers.

In a notice of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, a lawyer representing Dilmeet Singh Chahal claims he was Tazered twice, including once in the face, and, once in handcuffs "physically thrown into the back of an RCMP vehicle" then "physically assaulted and threatened" by police following the apprehension.

The lawsuit stems from an incident in which, according to Prince George RCMP, police vehicles were rammed and shots were fired in the lead up to the arrests of Chahal and two other people during the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2022.

Police have said the incident began shortly after 2 p.m. when RCMP attempted to pull over a suspicious vehicle.

The driver did not stop and instead fled the area and when a second RCMP officer attempted to stop the suspect vehicle around the area of 10th Avenue and Carney Street, the driver rammed the Mountie's vehicle and fled from police a second time.

RCMP flooded the area and tracked the vehicle down to the vicinity of Ross Crescent and Fifth Avenue where it collided with a second police vehicle. Three people fled the area on foot and they were apprehended in the vicnity of Fourth Avenue and Winnipeg Street following a brief pursuit but not before shots were fired by police.

Chahal and co-accused Zakaria Benjamin Athaya were both subsequently charged with resisting arrest and two firearms-related counts - possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle. As well, Chahal was charged with dangerous driving and fleeing police.

In the claim, filed in Vancouver, Chahal's lawyer alleges that while in the RCMP vehicle, he was "immediately punched in the face" by one of the officers after acknowledging he understood why he had been arrested. The Tazer prongs were still attached to his face and his arms were handcuffed behind his back, rendering him "defenceless," according to the claim.

Chahal alleges he began to plead "yes, sir, yes sir" to avoid further assaults and one of the officers responded with an expletive and then went on to say Chahal is no longer in Surrey, he's in Prince George and that RCMP in this city "dump losers" like him.

Chahal took the comment to be a threat that the officers were going to kill him.

A few minutes later, an officer allegedly asked Chahal if he "liked being shocked." When Chahal replied that he did not, one of the officers replied that he could get shot.

"Shot? Over what?," Chahal replied according to the claim. "F--k around and find out my man," an officer allegedly replied.

"Because this isn't f---king Surrey you idiot, we play different up here," another officer is alleged to have added.

Chahal alleges he was then grabbed by the head and slammed face first into the seat in front of him.

According to the claim, at all material times Chahal's hands were handcuffed behind his back and was not a threat such that "no violence or threat" against him was necessary.

"All violence and threats from the RCMP were gratuitous, excessive, demeaning and intended to make the Plaintiff have immediate fear for his life," the claim goes on to state.

Chahal claims he suffered injuries to his head and face, as well as psychological injuries including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress and is seeking general and punitive damages.

The Prince George RCMP and three officers are named as defendants as are the City of Prince George, the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

A spokesperson for Independent Investigations Office confirmed Wednesday that the civilian-based police watchdog was notified of the incident shortly after it occurred "but an investigation was not commenced as the injuries did not meet the threshold for serious harm as defined by the Police Act."

None of the allegations put forward on Chahal's behalf have been tested in court and none of the defendants have yet filed responses.

BC RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Kris Clark said RCMP are aware of the claim "but, as we are subject to it and the court process, it would be inappropriate for us to comment. Once served, the Department of Justice will review and a statement of defence for the RCMP will be issued through the appropriate court process."