IIO reports on Cranbrook RCMP shooting

Independent investigator of police finds Cranbrook RCMP officer may have committed an offence in an October 2012 shooting

In this Townsman file photo from October 2012

In this Townsman file photo from October 2012

B.C.’s independent investigator of police is making a report to Crown counsel over an officer-involved shooting in Cranbrook on October 2, 2012.

“This occurs when the Chief Civilian Director considers that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment (of the Police Act),” said a news release by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) on Wednesday, April 3.

In a follow-up interview, Kellie Kilpatrick, the IIO’s executive director of public accountability, said the report by Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal does not mean the RCMP officer will be charged.

“Essentially, the Chief Civilian Director reviews all of the investigative material and must consider if an officer MAY have committed an offence. In this case, he did form that belief that an officer MAY have committed an offence and thus the report to Crown [emphasis Kilpatrick’s own].

“Our threshold for referral to Crown is significantly lower than Crown’s threshold for charge approval,” said Kilpatrick.

The IIO is called to investigate any police-involved incidents where a member of the public dies or is seriously harmed. This is only the second time since the IIO was formed last September that Rosenthal has forwarded a report to Crown counsel.

According to RCMP statements at the time, at around 8:30 p.m. on October 2, 2012, the 9-1-1 centre received a report of an alleged carjacking near Kitchener. A man stopped to pick up two hitchhikers, but his vehicle was stolen and he was ejected from the vehicle.

The license plates and description of the stolen vehicle were relayed to Creston, Cranbrook, Kimberley and the Elk Valley.

The IIO’s statement upon completing its review on Wednesday, April 3 said that at about 10 p.m., an on-duty RCMP officer responded to the carjacking complaint. Three kilometres south of Cranbrook, the officer saw the subject vehicle. The officer pursued the vehicle.

According to the IIO, at the conclusion of the pursuit, the RCMP officer discharged his firearm.

The male driver of the vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries. The female passenger and the RCMP officer were not hurt.

Police charged Nicholas John Bullock, 26, of Port Coquitlam with robbery, possession of stolen property, assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and flight from a peace officer. The 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named because she is under 18, was charged with possession of stolen property.

The IIO began investigating the actions of the RCMP officer the day after the incident. The review was completed April 3 and Rosenthal has forward a report to Crown counsel. The IIO will not be releasing a public report on the incident, nor will it be providing further information.

“The Chief Civilian Director does not make a recommendation on if or what charges he believes Crown counsel should consider. Crown counsel maintains full jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process,” said the IIO statement Wednesday.