On Thursday, December 14, 2017 the British Columbia Prosecutor’s Service announced that there would be no charges against the killer Smithers RCMP officers involved in the pepper spray and choking death of 53-year-old rugby coach Jacobus Jonker in 2015. Jonker was killed at the police station a week after his Valentine’s Day arrest.
An investigation by the Independent Investigations Office of BC, the body that examines cases of police harm to civilians (but is by no means independent of police), decided there was a lack of evidence of a crime or use of excessive force by police, despite the fact that RCMP pepper sprayed the victim and one officer held him in some form of choke-like hold until he stopped moving. The state protects the state in cases of police violence against civilians.
Jacobus Jonker, had been arrested at his Smithers home following a call to 911 by his daughter around 10:34 PM on February 14, 2015. She had said the father was “horribly drunk” and the family had left the premises to go to a neighbor’s residence. Police arrived around 11:00 PM.
RCMP officers pepper sprayed Jonker and took him to the Smithers RCMP detachment. At the detachment there was allegedly a conflict between Jonker and an officer. As Jonker was moved to a cell, a supervisor claimed he felt threatened and other officers moved to restrain the victim. In the ensuing struggle, an assisting officer held Jonker around the head and neck. According to the report of the Prosecutor’s Service: “After a brief struggle the suspect stopped resisting and went limp. The officers rolled him over and found that he had stopped breathing.”
Jonker never regained consciousness. He was transported to Bulkley Valley General Hospital and then to Victoria General Hospital, where he died on February 21, 2015.
The man who died while in custody of Prince George RCMP has been identified publicly as Dale Culver, a 35-year-old father of three. Several RCMP officers took part in Culver’s arrest allegedly following a call about someone looking at vehicles. Culver was pepper prayed and newly released video shows that four officers pinned him to the ground afterwards.
It has not been independently confirmed that Culver, or anyone else was “casing vehicles.” Yet on this basis he was killed by police. A terrible price to pay for simply being suspected of possibly looking at cars.
Seeing the video, Alicia Wisla, Culver’s partner and mother of their five-month-old child, insists the officers involved must be charged.
The available video footage can be viewed here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3616428/girlfriend-of-prince-george-man-who-died-in-police-custody-wants-justice/?utm_source=980CKNW&utm_medium=Facebook
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia is investigating the death of a 35-year-old man in police custody in Prince George in northern BC. According to an IIO media release, Prince George RCMP arrested the victim on July 18 after responding to calls about a man allegedly looking at vehicles in a parking lot on the 1000 block of Central Street West at about 10:30 PM. Several police arrived on the scene. The person targeted by an officer was arrested after an alleged struggle with police in which the victim was pepper sprayed and put in the back of a police car. At some point it was noticed that the man appeared to be having trouble breathing and an ambulance was called. The victim supposedly collapsed when removed from the police car. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a bit after midnight. None of the released details have been independently confirmed. Neither has it been confirmed that the man arrested was the man about whom the initial call to police was made.