Charges stayed for Mounties accused of killing Dale Culver

Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en man died in custody after being arrested by the RCMP

The family of a Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en man in British Columbia who died after being arrested by the RCMP learned Friday that the manslaughter charges against two of the Mounties involved have been stayed.

“The BCPS had concluded that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction in relation to Cts. Ste-Marie or Cst. Monette for manslaughter,” said a statement released by the BC Prosecution Service.

Arthur “Dale” Culver, from the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations, was arrested in Prince George on July 18, 2017. According to the Independent Investigations Office or IIO, the RCMP were called about a man allegedly “casing vehicles.”

Family of Dale Culver
Dale Culver died in 2017 after being arrested by Prince George RCMP.

The independent office that investigated the case says the 35-year-old was pepper-sprayed during a struggle, had trouble breathing and died in custody.

The IIO recommended pressing charges to the prosecution service in May 2020.

RCMP constables Paul Ste-Marie and Jean Francois Monette were charged with manslaughter, while Sgt. Jon Eusebio Cruz and constables Arthur Dalman and Clarence MacDonald are accused of attempting to obstruct justice.

Read more:

 Family of Dale Culver calling for action from the B.C. justice system

The Cruz, Dalman, MacDonald case has pretrial applications starting on May 13 for two weeks and the trial is scheduled to start on June 10 for three weeks.

According to a document provided by the prosecution service, a pathologist had concluded that blunt force head trauma contributed to Culver’s death.

“The charge assessment was conducted by ad hoc Crown Counsel, who determined that the exceptional charge assessment standard of reasonable prospect of conviction was satisfied based on the evidence available at the time, including an autopsy report by a pathologist,” the latest statement from the prosecution said.

An ad hoc Crown Counsel is a lawyer in private practice hired by the province to prosecute a case.

Crown counsel questioned the pathologist leading up to the trial and because of outstanding questions they consulted another pathologist.

This expert had “extensive experience in police-involved deaths” according to the document.

The second pathologist disagreed with the original findings and instead determined “the cause of death to be acute and chronic adverse effects of methamphetamine following a struggle.”

Neither expert is named in the document.

Dale Culver’s family was not available for comment.


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