The BC Civil Liberties Association has filed a complaint against the Prince George RCMP after the death of a First Nations man in custody.
Reports indicate 35-year-old Dale Culver of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation died shortly after his arrest in July, 2017. Witnesses reports indicated that RCMP culver was physically pinned by a large number of officers and was pepper sprayed before collapsing.
The BCCLA’s complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP alleges police officers told witnesses to delete video footage of the arrest.
“We have heard from witnesses that the police told them to delete the cellphone video they had taken of the incident,” says Executive Director Josh Patterson in a news release. “It is a crime for police to tell witnesses to delete evidence that could be relevant to an investigation. We expect that the Independent Investigations Office will fully investigate the allegations that police officers caused evidence to be destroyed, or attempted to do so. And if any other witnesses saw this happening, hopefully they will come forward.”
Patterson says concerns about racial bias and excessive force in Culver’s arrest are also part of the filing to the commission.
Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) of the Tsayu clan of the Wet’suwet’en, says Dale Culver should not have died that night. “We need to get to the bottom of why he wound up dead at the hands of the Prince George RCMP, and of the allegations that officers told witnesses to delete their cellphone video evidence of the incident.”
The Independent Investigators Office is continuing to probe Culver’s arrest and death. It has put out two calls for eye witnesses to come forward with more information.