OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - The Commission for Public Complaints
Against the RCMP (CPC) has finalized a public interest investigation
into the in-custody death of Robert Knipstrom in Chilliwack, British
Columbia, on November 24, 2007.
The CPC first became engaged in this incident on November 19, 2007, when
it deployed an independent observer to the RCMP's criminal
investigation into events surrounding the arrest and subsequent death
of Mr. Knipstrom. The CPC Observer concluded that there were no
identified issues as they related to questions of impartiality.
The CPC also launched a complaint into the conduct of the RCMP members
present at, or engaged in, the arrest of Mr. Knipstrom, and the
adequacy of the subsequent criminal investigation, given the public
concern surrounding use of the TASER® and the propriety of the police investigating the police.
On November 19, 2007, Mr. Knipstrom was allegedly involved in a hit and
run in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Mr. Knipstrom immediately left the
scene and continued on to an equipment rental centre. While he was
there, he began displaying odd behaviour and he would not leave, so the
RCMP was called for assistance.
Following an attempt to engage Mr. Knipstrom in conversation to assess
the situation, a physical altercation occurred with the RCMP members
who attended the scene. The members resorted to a variety of hand
techniques and weapons, including pepper spray, a TASER® and a baton. All attempts and techniques used had little or no effect
on Mr. Knipstrom. Eventually, backup arrived and they were able to
restrain and handcuff Mr. Knipstrom.
Mr. Knipstrom was then transported to hospital, where he suffered a
cardiac arrest shortly after his arrival and died on November 24, 2007.
The CPC made 28 findings and 4 recommendations in its investigation
report. The Commission found that the RCMP members involved in the case
acted reasonably. In particular, the CPC found that the use and
subsequent deployment of the TASER® on Mr. Knipstrom was reasonable in the circumstances, and the members
appropriately sought and obtained medical treatment for Mr. Knipstrom.
The CPC did, however, identify several concerns with the investigation
that have also been identified in previous CPC reports which required
action by the RCMP.
The RCMP should formalize the attendance of the staff relations
representative (SRR) to provide clear policy and guidance to ensure
that the SRR knows the bounds of his or her involvement.
As with the Ian Bush decision (November 2007) and the St. Arnaud
decision (March 2009) the RCMP should "develop a policy that dictates
the requirement, timeliness and use of the duty to account that members
are obliged to provide."
All witness interviews in serious incidents should be conducted by a
The RCMP Commissioner accepted all but two of the CPC's findings and
agreed, wholly or in part, with all but one of the CPC's
recommendations. Those areas of disagreement have since been addressed
with the implementation of the RCMP's Responsibility to Report Policy and the External Investigation or Review Policy.
The RCMP took nearly 21 months to issue its response to the CPC's
Interim Report. In the view of the CPC, that delay was neither
appropriate nor necessary, nor has it been explained.
SOURCE Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
For further information:
Jamie Robertson, Director of Communications