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Kamloops man involved in 2016 Prince George arrest suing Mountie

Three officers charged from the incident remain on active duty
A photo showing injuries Cuyler Richard Aubichon received during his arrest in February by Prince George RCMP. (via RCMP)

An Indigenous man living in Kamloops has filed a lawsuit against a Prince George RCMP officer for his "reckless," "abusive" and "high-handed" actions against him during an arrest more than four years ago.

On Feb. 18, 2016, two individuals were arrested in Prince George after they were found in a stolen pickup truck.

The arrest was caught on video, which CBC News obtained and broadcasted on March 17, 2016, depicting the two occupants being stomped and kicked after police pull them from the vehicle.

Back in June, the BC Prosecution Service approved charges against Cst. Joshua Grafton (assault, assault with a weapon and obstruction of justice), and Cst. Wayne Connell and Cst. Kyle Sharpe, who were both charged with assault causing bodily harm. 

In his notice of civil claim filed Thursday (July 23) in BC Supreme Court, Cuyler Richard Aubichon lists Grafton, the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General as the defendants. 

Aubichon claims while he was on the ground, face down, Grafton encouraged the police dog to bite him. He was also kicked in the stomach and was hit on the head with a police baton, according to the document.

The incident left Aubichon with an injury to his face, upper thigh, ribs, bite marks to his hand and face, bruising over the sternum, bleeding to the back of his head and bruising over his forearms, states the claim. 

"Grafton acted with complete and deliberate indifference towards the plaintiff," the claim says, noting Aubichon was taken into custody without any medical assistance. 

Aubichon also reportedly suffered emotional consequences, including feelings of humiliation, shame and psychological trauma.

"The actions of Grafton and the RCMP were reckless, arrogant, high-handed, abusive and showed a callous disregard for the plaintiff's rights and physical welfare," reads the claim.

Aubichon is suing for general damages, aggravated and punitive damages, as well as other costs. However, an exact dollar amount is not given.

While Aubichon grew up in Prince George, he has been living in Kamloops since being sentenced in April 2020 for a robbery and being banned from Prince George for the duration of his probation. 

The defendants have 21 days to respond to the claim.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The three officers are expected to appear in Prince George court on Aug. 12 and all officers are still on active duty.

The RCMP says, upon learning of the video, formal internal Code of Conduct investigations were immediately initiated, but these matters have since concluded and are subject to the Privacy Act.

- with files from Hanna Petersen, PrinceGeorgeMatters