A suspect was punched in the face and bitten several times by a police dog, but the use of force was justifiable, the Independent Investigation Office of B.C. has decided.
The IIO released its report today, Nov. 14, regarding an incident Feb. 16 south of Nanaimo. RCMP tracked a suspect for about two hours after a break-in at a cabin in the Nanaimo Lakes area.
“The degree of force used was at the upper end of the justifiable range and, in different circumstances, might well be considered excessive,” noted Ronald MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director, in his report. “In these circumstances, however, it was not.”
According to an RCMP press release last winter, David Banford, 39, and a woman were found inside a private cabin by civilians after a break-in. Banford used bear spray to escape, fled on foot, but was tracked down by RCMP with the help of police dog Jager.
As Banford struggled after being bitten by the dog, the officer judged the suspect as “still motivated to escape [and] because of these factors, ‘took the fight out of the suspect with two stun strikes with a closed fist to the face.’”
Banford was found to have suffered puncture wounds to his buttocks and leg and a fractured eye socket and fractured nose.
He complained that he surrendered immediately with no resistance, but was “bitten by the [police dog] for no reason and struck a number of times in the face, also without any justification.”
MacDonald wrote that while the complainant’s account was “reasonably plausible in itself, [his] narrative suffers from significant credibility deficiencies in other areas.”
The IIO will not forward the case to Crown counsel for consideration of any charges.
This article will be updated with additional details.