British Columbia’s police watchdog has completed its investigation into the 2021 death of an Indigenous man on Vancouver Island, submitting its report Friday to provincial prosecutors, who will now consider charges against three Mounties in the case.
While the contents of the report remain sealed, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. said in December 2022 that investigators found reasonable grounds to charge the officers in the death of Jared Lowndes. The IIO has not said precisely which charges the officers could face.
At least one Campbell River RCMP officer opened fire on Lowndes in the parking lot of the Tim Hortons in the 2000 block of South Island Highway on the morning of July 8, 2021.
Police were attempting to pull over the 38-year-old father of two for an outstanding warrant when he failed to stop, the RCMP said shortly after the shooting.
The incident began just before 5:30 a.m., when an officer approached a parked Audi. The dark blue vehicle pulled away, making contact with a police vehicle as the officer approached, according to the IIO.
The Mountie did not pursue the driver but alerted fellow officers in the area. The vehicle was located again around 9 a.m. when police stopped it and attempted to apprehend the man in the drive-thru lane of the Tim Hortons.
The Campbell River RCMP said their officer boxed the vehicle in before using their police service dog to confront the driver.
During the interaction, the dog was stabbed and killed. The dog’s handler also suffered a knife wound, the RCMP said.
Police opened fire on Lowndes, killing him.
Lowndes’s mother Laura Holland said Friday she was breathing “a sigh of relief” after finding out the police watchdog report had been submitted to Crown prosecutors.
“I’m anticipating another long wait as to whether the Crown will pursue criminal charges against the three unnamed officers still on duty and living in Campbell River,” Holland said in a statement.
“There are many, many Indigenous communities watching this case across Canada,” added Holland, who has also filed a civil suit alleging negligence against the three officers.
The IIO says it will not be making further statements about the case, but added that the B.C. Prosecution Service must determine that charges are in the public interest and carry a “substantial likelihood of conviction” before they can be approved.