RCMP police dog Jager helped in the arrest of a suspect after a break-in and a chase through the snow in the Nanaimo Lakes area in February. The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. released its report on the incident on Nov. 14. (Photo submitted)

Use of force deemed justifiable in arrest of suspect after snowy chase in Nanaimo

Independent Investigation Office of B.C. reports on incident from late last winter

A suspect was punched in the face and bitten several times by a police dog, but the use of force was justifiable, the Independent Investigation Office of B.C. has decided.

The IIO released its report today, Nov. 14, regarding an incident Feb. 16 south of Nanaimo. RCMP tracked a suspect for about two hours after a break-in at a cabin in the Nanaimo Lakes area.

“The degree of force used was at the upper end of the justifiable range and, in different circumstances, might well be considered excessive,” noted Ronald MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director, in his report. “In these circumstances, however, it was not.”

According to an RCMP press release last winter, David Banford, 39, and a woman were found inside a private cabin by civilians after a break-in. Banford used bear spray to escape, fled on foot, but was tracked down by RCMP with the help of police dog Jager.

As Banford struggled after being bitten by the dog, the officer judged the suspect as “still motivated to escape [and] because of these factors, ‘took the fight out of the suspect with two stun strikes with a closed fist to the face.’”

Banford was found to have suffered puncture wounds to his buttocks and leg and a fractured eye socket and fractured nose.

Banford complained that he surrendered immediately with no resistance, but was “bitten by the [police dog] for no reason and struck a number of times in the face, also without any justification.”

MacDonald wrote that while the complainant’s account was “reasonably plausible in itself, [his] narrative suffers from significant credibility deficiencies in other areas.”

In his statements to IIO investigators, Banford claimed he and his female companion had been stranded for two days in the woods without food because their vehicle was stuck in snow and that they had permission to enter the cabin. He also said he was confronted by four men, all but one had weapons, and that he was struck with a crowbar and had his life threatened by the men who, he alleged, said were going “break his girlfriend’s kneecaps” and because there was no cellular phone service in the area they would handle the situation themselves instead of calling the police.

Banford said he bear-sprayed the men and then fled into the woods “to get help or get someone there” and left his girlfriend behind.

The report noted that at some time during his flight he found a trail camera, which he stuffed in his backpack, that recorded sounds as he was apprehended by police. Those sounds included screams, presumably Banford’s as he was being subdued by a police dog, a male voice calling the name of the police dog and the voice of a police officer ordering Banford to comply with commands or the officer would set the dog on him again. The commands recorded by the camera included profane language used by the officer toward Banford during the arrest.

The report noted that during Banford’s arrest the officer was operating “a long way from help in extremely trying environmental conditions” and that that Banford “was known to have used weapons very recently and might reasonably be believed to to still be in possession of a weapon.

“While it is understandable that a person with a dog’s teeth in his thigh will be inclined to struggle, [Banford] was now presenting [arresting officer] with a difficult situation that needed to be resolved quickly,” MacDonald said in his decision.

The report also noted the language used by the arresting officer immediately after the struggle to restrain and arrest Banford was “intemperate,” but that the level of force used in this case, given the circumstances, was not excessive.

The IIO will not forward the case to Crown counsel for consideration of any charges.

Full details of MacDonald’s decision can be read online.

RELATED: IIO B.C. looking into allegation of assault by Nanaimo RCMP

RELATED: Nanaimo RCMP and police dog track suspect through wintry backcountry



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Photo: Facebook)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for mischief and assault. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted for throwing merchandise at convenience store clerk

Police in Nanaimo hope public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for assault and mischief

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Mariah Charleson, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council vice-president, left, was among those voicing support for Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia that are seeing their catch dumped and taken and property damaged. A solidarity rally was held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Oct. 22. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)
Solidarity rally in Nanaimo sees support for Mi’kmaq lobster fishers

Indigenous people and supporters gather at Maffeo Sutton Park Thursday

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read