Mounties cleared after man falls from balcony
Distraught man jumps after police called to Hwy. 97 hotel
A man falling to his death from a Kelowna hotel balcony was not caused by any wrongdoing by police, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has found.
On Oct. 14, Kelowna Mounties responded to a complaint of a disturbance at a hotel in the 2400 block of Highway 97 North that a guest, identified as AP, was causing issues with hotel staff on the seventh floor.
At the time, Sgt. Annie Linteau said the individual was known to police and was being sought under the Mental Health Act for an earlier incident.
Upon arrival at AP’s room, Mounties announced their presence, but the individual did not acknowledge their presence, said Ronald MacDonald, chief civilian director with the IIO BC, in his report.
The officers announced they were about to enter, but found AP had latched the door shut.
Several minutes passed while a staff member went to get a bolt cutter to cut the lock.
In this time, AP climbed over the balcony and fell to his death. The lock was cut and the officers found no one in the room. The IIO investigated to determine whether an officer, through an action or inaction, may have committed any offence in relation to the incident that led to AP’s death.
Investigators gathered statements from 10 civilian witnesses, hotel staff and guests, a witness from another building and a witness in a car, recordings of 911 calls, recordings of police radio transmissions, photographs of the scene and video surveillance recordings.
In this case, MacDonald said it was not unreasonable for hotel staff to call police, as AP was swearing at staff and had earlier thrown something at housekeeping staff.
The Mounties had a duty to remove AP from the hotel “given the risk he posed to staff and other guests,” said MacDonald.
When AP refused to open the door for police, Mounties had no choice but to enter his room to attempt to remove him from the hotel, he said.
“Unfortunately, it is apparent that AP was attempting to flee police when he went over the balcony railing and attempted to get to the balcony below.”
The IIO BC found there was no evidence of any inappropriate behaviour by the officers in the hallway, nor did any officer do anything to directly cause AP’s fall from the balcony.
“The evidence shows they entered the room after AP fell,” said MacDonald. “There are no grounds to consider any charges against an officer.”