The Independent Investigation Office of BC has cleared Whistler RCMP officers in the death of a local man in March.
On the morning of March 8, 2020, police were called to a restaurant in Whistler because of a man who was intoxicated and causing disturbance.
The man was later identified as local business owner Jason Koehler, and in June his family filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force.
According to the report, the three officers initially spoke to the man in a calm manner, but then a physical altercation began.
Unable to control the man, one of the officers used a taser. Later, three more officers arrived who also used tasers and pepper spray on the man.
The officers were able to overpower the man, but noticed that he had become unresponsive. He was taken to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
Toxicology results reveal the cause of death to be a combined effect of cocaine and meth toxicity, dilated cardiomyopathy, and struggle during physical restraint.
The investigator has concluded that the man was suffering from numerous and serious health issues, and was further still at risk because of his consumption of narcotics.
Officers tasked with the arrest could not be expected to foresee that the struggle would lead to his death, the report says.
“I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any officer may have committed an offence under any enactment,” the investigator concluded.