Home / Press Release: Seven Years Later and We are Still Waiting for Justice for Dale Culver

Press Release: Seven Years Later and We are Still Waiting for Justice for Dale Culver

Prince George, BC (unceded territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation) – In July 2017, Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan man was killed by the RCMP in Prince George. Cell phone footage and photos of the encounter show several officers pinning Dale to the ground. He was then pepper sprayed during a struggle. Dale had trouble breathing and later collapsed. He was pronounced dead shortly after in a hospital, leaving behind a loving family and three beautiful children.

Sgt. John Eusebio Cruz, Const. Arthur Dalman, and Const. Clarence MacDonald were charged with obstruction of justice. Const. Paul Ste. Marie and Const. Jean Francois Monette were charged with manslaughter. Const. Paul Ste. Marie has also been charged with assault in a separate police matter alleged to have occurred in August 2022.

Since Dale’s death, there have been 379 police-related deaths in British Columbia. It is rare for a police officer to be charged with manslaughter or murder in Canada. Considering the subsequent police-involved deaths of Everett Patrick, Julian Jones, Jared Lowndes, Chris Amyotte, and Jimmie Johannesson, Dale’s case is significant. It is one of the first cases, if not the first, in which RCMP officers have been charged with manslaughter for killing an Indigenous man in BC.

Debbie Pierre, Dale’s sister/cousin: “Dale was a beloved son, brother, father, and family member. Dale was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He should not have died that night. We have advocated for Justice for Dale, never wavering from our goal to hold the police accountable for their actions. Since Dale’s passing, we have witnessed police officers and security guards continue to seriously harm and kill people. I am furious knowing that police officers who were involved in Dale’s death, continue to work in Prince George. Our family will not rest until we get justice.”

Meghan McDermott, Policy Director at the BC Civil Liberties Association: “Not only is Dale’s case historic, but it is happening during a time when BC’s Police Act is under review. This is the perfect time for the government to commit to implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, bringing policing legislation in line with BC’s domestic and international obligations. We do not need any more inquiries, committees, or reports. What we need is transformative change.”

Latoya Farrell, Policy Counsel at the BC Civil Liberties Association: “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. Police officers are not above the law and must be held accountable for their unlawful actions. Dale’s family has been waiting for justice for over seven years. How much longer must Dale’s family wait? We demand justice for Dale and his family in this historic case.”

Additional Resources/Background

Independent Investigations Office Case 2017-083

BCCLA 2018 Police Complaint regarding the Police-Involved Death of Dale Culver