Lawsuit filed by family of Jason Koehler, who died in a B.C. police confrontation
|Toronto Star 13 Jun 2020 at 20:39|
KAMLOOPS, B.C.—A civil lawsuit has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court over the death of a man in Whistler, B.C., alleging four when they tried to take the man into custody.
Jason Koehler’s family alleges in the lawsuit that Koehler died shortly after being jolted with a Taser, pepper sprayed and beaten with police batons on March 8.
The statement of claim filed June 11 says police were called to a restaurant in Whistler for a report of a disturbance and when police encountered Koehler, they made limited efforts to de-escalate the situation.
The attorney general of Canada, B.C.’s solicitor general and four unnamed officers are named in the lawsuit. No statements of defence have been filed in the case.
The allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court and neither the attorney general nor the solicitor general were immediately available for comment.
An RCMP spokesman said the force had no comment because the matter was before the courts.
Koehler was not violent with police, was unarmed and communicated his willingness to peacefully leave the restaurant while raising his hands above his head, the lawsuit says.
“Jason Koehler’s last words to the RCMP were ‘Don’t kill me,’” the lawsuit alleges.
It says Koehler lost consciousness at the scene as the four officers beat him and he could not be revived. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
“RCMP members did not have reasonable grounds to arrest Jason Koehler and, in any event, RCMP members used excessive force in attempting to arrest (him),” the statement of claim says.
The Independent Investigations Office said in a news release on March 8 that officers had responded to a report about an intoxicated male in Whistler Village.