Two Prince George RCMP officers have been charged with manslaughter, the B.C. Prosecution Service said Wednesday.
Cst. Paul Ste-Marie and Cst. Jean Francois Monette now face the count in relation to the July 18, 2017 death of Dale Culver.
As well, three other officers, Cst. Arthur Dalman, Cst. Clarence (Alex) Alexander MacDonald, and Sgt. Bayani (Jon) Eusebio Cruz, have been charged with attempting to obstruct justice in relation to the incident, BCPS said.
Culver's death sparked an investigation by B.C.'s civilian based police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Office. In March 2020, IIO chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald forwarded a report to the BCPS in which he recommended that charges be laid.
Culver, an Indigenous man from the Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en Nations, was 35 years old at the time of his death.
An RCMP release from the time said police received a report about a man casing vehicles and found a suspect who tried to flee on a bicycle.
There was allegedly a struggle when police tried to take the man into custody, other officers were called, and pepper spray was used. Officers noticed the man appeared to have trouble breathing and called for medical assistance. He collapsed immediately after being taken out of the police vehicle and died soon after, police say.
The BC Civil Liberties Association alleged in a 2018 complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP that the association had "learned of troubling allegations that RCMP members told witnesses to delete cellphone video that they had taken."
The first appearance for all officers on these matters is scheduled for March 14, 2023 in Prince George Provincial Court.
"The charges were approved by an experienced criminal lawyer who has no prior or current connection with the officers," BCPS said in a statement.
- with files from The Canadian Press