B.C. police watchdog rules Mounties not responsible for Port Alberni man's death
VICTORIA -- British Columbia's police watchdog says two Port Alberni Mounties committed no wrongdoing in their encounter last week with a man who wound up dead on the city's waterfront.
Two Port Alberni RCMP officers responded at approximately 3 a.m. Thursday after someone at a local business reported a naked and bloody man had just left their store and was cleaning himself off at a nearby car wash.
When the Mounties arrived, the man fled on foot and waded out into a tributary of the Port Alberni inlet, followed by the police.
"Two officers, one after the other, without regard for their own safety, entered the frigid water in attempts to save the male, who ignored officers and moved further out from shore," the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) wrote in its findings released Monday.
"Both officers had to return to shore due to the impact of the cold water on their bodies."
Search and rescue personnel used cold-water recovery gear to recover the man's body approximately one hour later.
The IIO has ruled that the attending officers were appropriately trying to provide medical assistance, which the man apparently refused.
"There is no evidence to indicate the actions of police were responsible for this tragic death," the IIO wrote. "More accurately, their efforts were an attempt to save his life. As a result, the investigation has been concluded."