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Police watchdog clears Mountie in 2020 chaotic Lake Country traffic stop

The original incident took place on Sept. 11, 2020
The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) has cleared Const. Juilus Prommer of any wrong-doing stemming from an incident on Sept. 11, 2020 in which Prommer pulled over Justin Blondin for speeding. (File Photo)

After criminal court proceedings, B.C.’s police watchdog has determined for a second time that a RCMP officer did not commit any offense during an incident that occurred in Lake Country in 2020.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. originally put out its report on the matter on March 23, 2021 stating the officer didn’t commit an offence but after court proceedings, it has been confirmed again because of insufficient evidence.

In the IIO’s newest report, the parties involved are not named. The names are public record from a civil claim filed to B.C. Supreme Court on Sept. 24, 2020.

The incident under investigation by the IIO took place on Sept. 11, 2020, on Highway 97 near Lodge Road. Dustin Blondin was arrested for speeding after being caught travelling 120 km/h in a 70 km/h zone, Const. Julius Prommer. During the arrest, an altercation took place and Blondin claimed Prommer used unreasonable force and broke Blondin’s arm.

Prommer told investigators that Blondin’s reaction to being pulled over and being told his car could be impounded was “angry, belligerent, and objective.” He also stated that Blondin was videoing himself “while pushing his face into [Prommer’s] flashlight and yelling ‘you assaulted me’.”

Prommer also claimed that besides when Blondin pushed himself into the flashlight, there was no other physical contact until another officer arrived.

Prommer denied squeezing Blondin’s hand but did acknowledge that he had to restrain him in the backseat of his police vehicle by “controlling his shoulders and rolling him” to search Blondin and seize his cell phone.

After the event, Blondin was diagnosed with a spiral fracture in his left hand, which required surgery.

Blondin did acknowledge he was driving too fast at the time of the incident but upon meeting Prommer, stated he could tell he was “not in a good mood that day.”

When Prommer asked for Blondin’s driver’s license, Blondin said his driver’s license was stolen, which IIO investigated and discovered to be true.

During the arrest, Blondin admitted to resisting being taken to the ground but Prommer “flipped out” and grabbed Blondin’s cuffed hands.

While being transported to the RCMP detachment, Blondin, while handcuffed, used his smartwatch to call 911. In the phone call, Blondin claims his hand was broken and his face was “smashed on the pavement.”

At the detachment, after being fingerprinted, he was given his phone back and spoke to a legal aid lawyer, who didn’t take his case.

During the investigation, Blondin provided officers with the video up to when Prommer told Blondin to stop shining his cell phone. Blondin didn’t provide a video of a flashlight hitting him in the eye, as he claimed.

A tow truck driver who arrived at the scene to take Blondin’s vehicle told investigators he saw Blondin “trying to obstruct” the officers at the scene. The tow truck driver looked away from the scene and when he looked back, Blondin was on the ground being handcuffed. He confirmed Blondin was yelling and screaming and stating the officer broke his arm.

Following this second investigation by the IIO, it was again determined there was insufficient evidence to say the force used was unreasonable.

It was concluded there was no problem with the original offence as Blondin was speeding significantly.

Chief civilian director Ronald J MacDonald stated that the inconsistencies in the evidence are the fact that the injury to Blondin’s hand is a spiral fracture, “more likely the result of a twisting force than a crushing one.”

MacDonald found there was significant evidence from the second arriving officer to conclude the injury was most likely caused by the struggle to get Blondin’s arms under control and into restraints during the arrest.

“It might have been the indirect result of the efforts of either of the two officers but in any event does not appear to have been caused by any unjustified or excessive use of force, in the circumstance,” he said.

MacDonald added that he did not consider there to be reasonable grounds to believe an officer committed an office under any enactment and therefore the matter would not be referred to the Crown Council for consideration of charges.

“The bottom line is that [Blondin]’s evidence suffers from reliability issues, and contradicts other known evidence,” said MacDonald. “While the evidence from Prommer is incomplete when considering the totality of the matter, there is insufficient evidence to say that force used was unreasonable.”

READ MORE: Lake Country Mountie accused of assault responds to civil lawsuit

READ MORE: Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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