RCMP officer won't be charged after ordering civilian to stop performing CPR

No charges will be laid against a Langley RCMP officer who told a civilian to stop performing CPR on a man who had experienced a medical event while driving.

The Criminal Justice Branch issued a written statement on Monday about the Sept. 22, 2013 incident, saying it “has concluded there is no substantial likelihood that the police officer who was subject to investigation would be convicted of any potential offence arising from the circumstances.”

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the civilian agency that handles complaints against police, launched an investigation after one person complained the Langley officer ordered the civilian to stop performing CPR on the driver.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2013, an adult male driver experienced a medical event and subsequently crashed his vehicle into a building on 204 Street in Langley.

Around 3:15 p.m., a civilian witness began to administer Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) based on his own training as a Level 2 First Aid attendant, and on the directions of the B.C. Ambulance Service emergency operator.

He was ordered to halt by a Langley RCMP officer who arrived on the scene, checked the driver’s neck for a pulse and assessed the driver’s breathing by placing his hand over the driver’s face.

“The available evidence indicates that the driver appeared to be breathing at the time the officer attended to him,” the statement said.

“The officer instructed the civilian to stop performing CPR, and there was a disagreement between the officer and civilian as to whether CPR should be stopped.”

The investigation found that the driver was without medical intervention for a period of approximately 20 to 90 seconds until firefighters arrived and commenced doing CPR. The driver was airlifted to hospital and declared dead at 4:41 pm.

“The available evidence indicates that the officer believed the driver was breathing, based on his assessment of the patient’s vital signs, and that the officer believed firefighters were arriving at scene and should take over patient care from the civilian,” the statement said.

“As the driver was believed to be breathing, the officer may have understood him to be “beginning to respond” which, from the officer’s training, is a basis for discontinuing CPR.”

To charge the officer with “Impeding an attempt to save life,” a prosecutor “would have to prove that the officer, without reasonable cause, prevented or impeded, or attempted to prevent or impede, another person who was attempting to save a life.”

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