A New Westminster police officer is at the heart of an investigation stemming from an altercation that happened during a recent arrest.
It all started when New Westminster police responded to a disturbance on Wednesday, May 10, around 11 p.m. in the 1000-block of Fifth Avenue. Officers dealt with the disturbance and cleared the scene without "taking any enforcement action," but about an hour later they were called back, according to a police press release. A 22-year-old female was taken into custody, and an altercation happened between her and the arresting officers.
"As a result of this altercation, (a New Westminster) officer with 24 years of service has been re-assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation into the incident," the press release notes. New Westminster police are conducting an internal review of the matter and have alerted the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner about the altercation. Chief Const. Dave Jones of the New Westminster Police Service has asked Abbotsford police to oversee the investigation.
Since the matter is under investigation, New Westminster police were not able to provide further details and could not say whether the officer in question was the subject of previous complaints.
However, according to Ian MacDonald of the Abbotsford Police Department, New Westminster officers were responding to a call about a woman who was reportedly intoxicated and causing a disturbance in an apartment. Police responded, calmed everyone down and left but were called back because the woman had more to drink and was still causing a disturbance, MacDonald explained. During the second call, police found her in the hallway of the building and decided to arrest her. What exactly happened next is the subject of the investigation, but according to MacDonald, the woman allegedly struck a male officer, who in turn hit her back.
"The crux of the assertion is she struck a police officer and one of the attending officers struck her," MacDonald said.
An ambulance was called, but the woman's injuries weren't considered serious enough to stop the arrest process or to send her to hospital.
MacDonald said Abbotsford police started putting their investigators "on the ground" on Monday and that the investigation could take months.