Two Westside Road residents have lodged a pair of complaints against a Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP officer after he allegedly pulled a gun on the couple during a traffic stop.
The alleged incident happened Saturday morning just before noon on Westside Road near the Valley of the Sun.
“My husband and I were doing nothing wrong Saturday afternoon when we were pulled over about 10 minutes from our home near Fintry,” said the woman, who did not want to give her name. “An RCMP officer pulled us over and pulled his gun on us. I think the public should be aware this misconduct is going on.”
The woman said she and her husband were returning home from an outing in Vernon in their new pickup, which, according to the woman, they purchased several days ago. She said they were told by the dealership not to exceed a certain speed limit to help break in the engine, so her husband set the truck at 60 km/h on cruise control.
They had been at a local garden centre picking up a truck load of dirt, which they had in the back of their truck secured by a tarp. They also stopped for coffee.
The woman said they saw the police car coming towards them, heading to Vernon, and thought nothing of it until about five minutes later when her husband, who was driving, noticed the police car in the rear view with its flashing lights on. The truck was being pulled over. It was shortly before noon.
“My husband got out of the truck because he thought maybe the tarp was flapping, so he went to check on it,” said the woman. “When he did that, the officer opened his door, pointed a gun at him, stood hiding behind his door, his hands were shaking and he said ‘get back in your truck.’
“When the officer pulled the gun, my husband turned snow white. I thought he was going to have a heart attack on the side of Westside Road.”
According to the woman, the officer approached the truck and her husband said through the rolled-down window, ‘Why did you pull a gun on me?’ The woman said the officer’s answer was, ‘My life was threatened.’
“‘How?’ asked my husband,” stated the woman, adding the officer said the truck was pulled over because “you were swerving all over the road, I need to check you for sobriety and you were speeding.”
“We did neither of the three,” said the woman. “My husband said to the officer, ‘I was not speeding. I had my truck set on cruise control…I never crossed the centre line and I have not been drinking.”
The woman said her husband blew on the officer for a breath test, and she held up the coffee cups asking if the officer wanted to test them.
The officer, according to the woman, did not say anything.
Her husband was given two tickets by the officer, one for crossing the centre line, and one for a charge of failing to obey.
The couple have filed a formal complaint with the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment and the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP.
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk confirms a complaint has been filed with the local detachment.
“Because it is now a formal complaint, as it is with the commission, there’s not much more I can say,” said Molendyk. “A complaint has been filed and now the investigation will have to take its course.”
The couple is also talking with a lawyer about legal action.
“We did nothing wrong,” she said.
The officer in question remains on active duty.