Family of Dale Culver says ‘he should never have died’ at the hands of the RCMP

IIO recommending use of force and obstruction of justice charges against 5 RCMP officers related to death of Dale Culver.

Dale Culver

Dale Culver died in 2017 after an encounter with Prince George RCMP.

The family of Dale Culver say he was unfairly judged by the RCMP on the night of his death and it cost him his life.

Culver, a father of three who is originally from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, died in 2017 after an encounter with the RCMP.

His daughter Lily Speed-Namox says she’s still shocked and saddened by what happened.

“I would understand at some point if he was armed or he pulled something on them that the circumstances could have been different but at the same time him just breaking into vehicles there was no reason that he should have died,” said Speed-Namox.

“He had no weapons, he had no reason that he should have died.”

On Friday, the Independent Investigation Office (IIO) of B.C. which investigates injuries or deaths involving police in the province, released its report on Culver’s death.

It says Prince George RCMP officers responded to a call of someone looking into parked vehicles.

When officers attempted to question Culver, he allegedly tried to flee on a bicycle.

A struggle ensued and pepper-spray was used. Culver started having difficulty breathing, and medical services were called.

The 35 year old died shortly after being removed from the police vehicle by Emergency Health Services, the report said.

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders.

The IIO is recommending charges against the five RCMP officers who were on the scene that night.

“Upon completion of the investigation, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC has determined that reasonable grounds exist to believe that two officers may have committed offences in relation to use of force, and three others may have committed offences regarding obstruction of justice.”

Culver’s family has been asking for justice for two years.

“The RCMP had showed up to my aunties house to inform her that my dad had passed away and that there was some investigations that needed to happen and we could details as soon as they would be released,” said Speed-Namox. “That it had to do with the cops.”

Read the report here: IIO files report to Crown counsel for consideration of charges

The report recommends two charges for RCMP officers related to the force used to arrest Culver. Three recommended obstruction of justice charges may be linked to the bystander video recording.

The initial local media reports claimed officers may have asked bystanders to delete the video of arrest.

The IIO Office says the decision to move ahead with the charges now is with the Crown.

Tracey Speed, Lily’s mother, said the tragic event shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“It just should have never happened. He was very unfairly judged by just being an Aboriginal male on a bike. So the whole thing should have never have happened to begin with,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the RCMP in this town seem to jump to conclusions.”

The IIO office has told the family that it could take months before action is taken.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.