A police watchdog is investigating an incident involving the Surrey RCMP in Guildford – and police have issued a “complete apology” – after a man complained Mounties mistook him for a robbery suspect and injured him in the process.
The complainant, Alex Fisher, 27, could not be reached for comment by press time.
Phil Evans told the Now-Leader that police stopped his son’s friend on Feb. 8 while he was riding a bicycle and the police allegedly pulled him off his bike and slammed him face-first into the ground.
“They released him when they found out they had the wrong guy,” Evans said.
Rebecca Whalen, a spokeswoman for the Surrey-based Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO), said Tuesday, “I can’t give a name for you or anything like that. What I can tell you is that I can confirm we are investigating an incident involving the Surrey RCMP on Feb. 8.”
Surrey RCMP Sergeant Elenore Sturko confirmed that police on Feb. 8 “did interact with that individual and we’re looking into the circumstances of what happened.”
The BC RCMP issued a press release Tuesday afternoon saying that just before 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 8 the Surrey RCMP was called to investigate a complaint about an armed robbery at a business in the 10300-block of 152nd Street, and that a suspect had been seen leaving the scene on a bicycle.
“A responding officer located a person he believed matched the description of the suspect, riding a bicycle nearby and placed him under arrest,” the press release states.
“The man allegedly resisted the officer’s attempts to take him into custody and a struggle ensued. With assistance of several back-up officers, the man was taken into custody.”
According to the BC RCMP, the man was assessed and treated at the scene by BC Emergency Health Services.
“It was later determined the man was not the suspect in the armed robbery and he was released from police custody at the scene,” the police said. “The RCMP regrets the mistake made in identifying the man and now offers a complete apology to him.”
The Surrey RCMP has since learned the man “suffered serious injuries and the IIO BC has been notified.”