RCMP officers facing charges 4 years after violent arrest caught on camera

Four years after video of a violent arrest in Prince George prompted public outcry and an investigation by B.C.’s police watchdog, four RCMP officers are facing charges.

The grainy surveillance video shows officers pulling two suspects out of what authorities said was a stolen pickup truck in February 2016. Officers appear to strike the men while they’re on the snowy ground, and a police dog can be seen lunging at one of the suspects repeatedly.

On Monday, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced charges against three officers from the Prince George RCMP detachment. Const. Joshua Grafton is facing counts of assault, assault with a weapon and obstruction of justice, while Const. Wayne Connell and Const. Kyle Sharpe are charged with assault causing bodily harm.

The announcement came just over two years after the Independent Investigations Office completed its report into the incident and submitted it to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

The BCPS said the charge assessment process “was significantly delayed due to the complexity of the issues, the volume of the initial disclosure, BCPS requests for further information, and subsequent receipt of additional disclosure.”

“As these matters are now before the court the BCPS is unable to release additional information or comment further at this time” the service said in a statement.

All three officers are expected to appear in court on Aug. 12, 2020.

Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the B.C. RCMP Communications Services said all of the officers remain on active duty as of Monday.

The force launched internal Code of Conduct investigations after the video surfaced, but it’s unclear what the outcomes were. The RCMP said the matters “have concluded and are subject to the Privacy Act.”

Five other officers from the same Prince George detachment are also currently facing possible use of force and obstruction charges in relation to the death of Dale Culver, who died after an interaction with police in July 2017.

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