Man claims officer shot him with a non-lethal round while he was already apprehended and in handcuffs

Shot while in handcuffs: suit

A Kootenay RCMP officer is facing a new lawsuit after he allegedly shot a man with a non-lethal round who was already detained in handcuffs. Police had first come to the man's home because he had told them he was suicidal.

While the lawsuit was filed this week in Kelowna's BC Supreme Court, the incident allegedly occurred back on Aug. 3, 2019 near Fernie.

In the suit, Jason Luke claims he was experiencing a “mental breakdown” on Aug. 2, 2019, and due to his ongoing alcohol addiction, he was suicidal. He says he called 911 that day and said he “wanted to die and that he would be harming himself.” He told the operator that he had a gun in his possession.

Luke says police did not arrive at his home until the next day, when an officer banged on his door at about 1 p.m.

“The plaintiff exited his camper and tried to run towards his car,” Luke states in the suit. “While the plaintiff was running towards his vehicle, the plaintiff was shot by the RCMP in his upper left buttocks. The plaintiff later learned that the round that the RCMP used was a non-lethal round.”

Luke says he fell to the ground and was handcuffed by an officer, before being escorted to an RCMP cruiser. He says he was cooperative with police, was not "flailing" or taking “any steps to wrench himself from the grips of the RCMP.”

Before he was put into the vehicle, Luke says another unidentified officer, referred to as John Doe, approached him while he was still in handcuffs.

“John Doe looked straight at the plaintiff and discharged another non-lethal round into the plaintiff's upper right thigh, close to the plaintiff's genitals," the suit states. "Neither John Doe nor any member of the RCMP was in danger from the plaintiff.”

Luke said the officer had the “deliberate intention of hurting the [him] without just cause.”

He said he suffered “lacerations, damage to his thigh, facial bruising, swelling and excessive bleeding” and he required medical attention at the Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie.

“These injuries have caused and continue to cause the plaintiff pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of physical, mental and emotional health and loss of earnings past and future,” the lawsuit states. “These injuries aggravated or exacerbated earlier injuries such that they are impossible to separate.”

Additionally, Luke claims the officer who shot him with the non-lethal round “has a history of complaints and a history of abusing his authority,” of which the RCMP is allegedly aware of.

RCMP spokesperson Janelle Shoihet declined to comment on the new lawsuit, saying that the RCMP would be filing an official response through the courts.

In addition to general damages, recovery of health care costs, and loss of earnings, Luke is also seeking aggravated and punitive damages from the RCMP and the unidentified officer.

“John Doe and the RCMP's actions were reckless, arrogant, high-handed and abusive and showed a callous disregard for the plaintiff's rights,” Luke states in the lawsuit. “John Doe and the RCMP have engaged in conduct that is reprehensible and deserves punishment.”

None of Luke's allegations have been proven in court, and the RCMP has yet to file a response to the suit.

The suit comes 14 months after Const. Lacey Browning dragged nursing student Mona Wang through the hallways of her apartment building and stepped on her head in the building's lobby. That incident also began with a "wellness check," as Wang had attempted to commit suicide that evening. The RCMP continue to investigate Const. Browning's conduct.

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