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Kamloops Mounties cleared in death of man Tasered at hospital

Police tape

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Kamloops Mounties have been exonerated in connection with the death of a man at Royal Inland Hospital last summer.

The victim was Tasered in an unsuccessful attempt to stop him from jumping from the third level of the hospital's parkade.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C.'s report, authored by civilian director Richard Rosenthal, has found RCMP officers did not commit a criminal offence.

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A report to Crown counsel will not be forthcoming following a probe that included interviews with three Mounties and four witnesses.

The incident occurred on June 11, 2014, when an 18-year-old patient at the hospital left the building in a distraught state.

Responding Mounties spoke with him for about 40 minutes before he was Tasered, but officers told IIOBC investigators the weapon had no effect.

"The CEW (conducted electrical weapon, or Taser) ended up being ineffective and the affected person 'began fighting' to get away," Rosenthal wrote in his report.

"Subject officers 1 and 2 attempted to gain control; however, the struggle lasted mere seconds before the affected person broke free. The affected person ran and went over the ledge.

"Subject officer 2 was faced with making a split-second decision. As long as it appeared that the effective deployment of the CEW allowed for the affected person to be taken into protective custody, the decision to deploy the CEW at that moment could not possibly constitute wanton and reckless disregard for human life or safety," Rosenthal wrote.

"In fact, there is no reason to believe that the deployment of the CEW was for any purpose other than attempting to ensure that the affected person was no longer in a position to self-harm.

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"The tragic result of the unsuccessful deployment was that the affected person reacted and jumped from the parkade. It is impossible however to know what actions the affected person might have taken if no attempt, other than negotiation, was made to ensure protective custody."

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