The RCMP is defending the actions of a Tofino police officer who was videotaped detaining a distraught woman on Thursday.
The video, which has been shared more than 900 times since being posted to Facebook on April 25, shows Reserve Const. Andrew Waddell detaining a visibly upset woman who is laying on her back on Campbell Street near the Tofino Co-op, with Waddell on top of her, in front of several bystanders.
The video appears to have been filmed with a cellphone and the person filming identifies themselves as a friend of the woman being detained. It does not show the events leading up to the woman’s detainment.
“In my view, I have reviewed both the video and the file, and his response was totally appropriate in the context of what occurred,” Cpl. Stu Hert of the Tofino RCMP told the Westerly News on Friday. “I have absolutely no concerns with his performance.”
In an email to the Westerly News, Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the B.C. RCMP wrote that police received a report of a woman in distress in downtown Tofino at approximately 8 p.m. on April 25.
“The officer located and spoke with the woman, he determined the woman appeared to be to be in crisis and in need of medical assistance. After prolonged conversation, during which the woman refused to voluntarily seek medical assistance, the officer apprehended her under the authority of Section 28 of the Mental Health Act and attempted to take her into custody to transport her for assessment,” Sgt. Shoihet wrote. “The woman was placed in handcuffs but allegedly began to resist the officer’s efforts, as such she was placed on the ground to prevent injury to herself or the officer in question. The woman was subsequently assessed by a physician, and held for further assessment.”
Shoihet added that RCMP are aware of the video and noted that it only shows “a portion of the interaction.”
She suggested Waddell is not facing any disciplinary action at this time.
“After reviewing all the available information, including the video, we can say that our officer, who is a member of the Tofino RCMP, utilized his training and was acting within his lawful authorities given the totality of the circumstances,” she wrote.
Waddell, who was locally known as the ‘Tofino Bike Cop’ from 2011-2014, recently returned to the Tofino detachment to serve as a Reserve Constable, according to Hert, who said Waddell will be in a general duty frontline response role to fill in for members who are off-duty.
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