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RCMP officers employed a police dog to take down a man who allegedly threatened police and was behaving erratically in downtown Nanaimo.
The incident unfolded Monday, Oct. 18, at about 9:20 a.m. near the intersection of Esplanade, Terminal Avenue and Nicol Street.
According to an RCMP press release, an off-duty RCMP officer with his police dog Herc heard a man yelling in anger and saw him walk into traffic with no apparent regard for his personal safety. The officer radioed other officers, then followed the man, who was “ranting and raving” and allegedly started approaching several citizens.
At this time, the officer got out of his truck with Herc and attempted to engage the individual in conversation and discovered the man was upset because his suitcase had been stolen.
“The officer offered to help him look for it but the man was not interested in speaking with the officer, and repeatedly told him to leave, and threatened him and Herc with death,” noted the press release. “During their conversation that lasted several minutes, the officer noted that the man was sweating profusely, acting erratically and was walking back and forth into the flow of traffic.”
Police attempted to arrest the man, but he did not comply, so “considering the volatility of the situation and risk to the man, [the police dog] was deployed,” RCMP said.
The incident was captured on video by a witness.
The 47-year-old man was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital to be treated for several bite wounds and then taken to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment and lodged in cells.
Later that day and when he was deemed fit to be released, he was served with an notice to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December for one count of uttering threats.
“This was an extremely volatile, dynamic situation with significant risk to the man, the general public and the officer. Considering all the risk factors, the officer and Herc performed admirably,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the release.
O’Brien also said the police watchdog agency Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is not investigating the incident.
The police dog handler was later told that the individual was “flagged violent” due to previous police encounters and that he admitted while at the hospital that he had consumed “a large quantity of cocaine” earlier in the day.