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Family of Dale Culver reacts to dropped charges against Mounties in manslaughter case

April 8, 2024

BC Prosecution has said there is not a reasonable likelihood of conviction for manslaughter charges 

Family members of Dale Culver say they are reeling after learning that two Mounties charged with manslaughter were stayed by Crown prosecutors in British Columbia.

“I call on all our Indigenous leaders to say enough is enough,” Debbie Pierre told APTN News in an interview.
The family learned of the decision late last week.

“We have a system that says if you have a gun and a badge, you can kill any Indigenous person in any town in B.C. and not go to jail,” said Culver’s sister Raven Culver in a statement released Friday.

“Our family has endured seven years of delays, waiting for the day Dale’s killers would be held accountable. Today our worst fears were confirmed. There is no justice.”

Pierre said that Culver was a “loving caring human who always tried to find humour in things” and that although he did struggle with addictions he was “making an attempt to follow a healthy lifestyle for his children.”

     Read more: 
Charges stayed for Mounties accused of killing Dale Culver
Family of Dale Culver says ‘he should never have died’ at the hands of the RCMP

The BC Prosecution Service released a statement on Wednesday saying that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction in of police members Cts. Ste-Marie or Cst. Monette for manslaughter.

Arthur “Dale” Culver, from the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations, was arrested in Prince George on July 18, 2017.

According to the Independent Investigations Office or IIO, the RCMP were called about a man allegedly “casing vehicles.” The independent office that investigated the case said the 35-year-old was pepper-sprayed during a struggle, had trouble breathing and died in custody.

The IIO issued a recommendation of charges to the prosecution.

“We are deeply outraged that manslaughter charges against these publicly paid RCMP officers who killed Dale Culver have been dropped,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in a press release. “Now is the time for major changes to B.C.’s Police Act, before these racial tensions boil over. The law must be updated in line with B.C.’s international human rights commitments under UNDRIP and officers must be held accountable for each and every death of an Indigenous person at the hands of police.

“We are not dispensable. This has to stop.”
RCMP constables Paul Ste-Marie and Jean Francois Monette were charged with manslaughter. Sgt. Jon Eusebio Cruz and constables Arthur Dalman and Clarence MacDonald are accused of attempting to obstruct justice.

APTN previously reported that initial local media reports claimed officers may have asked bystanders to delete the video of arrest. The IIO report has not been released to the public.

The Cruz, Dalman, MacDonald case has pretrial applications starting on May 13 for two weeks and the trial is scheduled to start on June 10 for three weeks.

According to the Clear Statement document provided by the prosecution service a pathologist had concluded that blunt force head trauma contributed to Culver’s death.

“Indigenous people and their communities are disproportionately impacted by policing and the legal system in Canada. They are often overpoliced and under-protected, highlighting serious systemic issues rooted in colonial oppression and genocide,” said Latoya Farrell, Policy Counsel at the BC Civil Liberties Association in an email statement.

Police have killed 388 people in British Columbia since Culver’s death in 2017.

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