Nanaimo K9 officer sued over injuries sustained during arrest

December 28, 2020


A Vancouver Island man is suing an RCMP dog handler and provincial and federal governments for injuries he sustained during an arrest last year.

David Alan Banford filed the lawsuit in September, naming Const. Joshua Grafton for the arrest on February 16, 2019 in Nanaimo. Banford had been charged with two counts of assault with a weapon and one count of break and enter in relation to the incident, but those charges were stayed by the Crown on Dec. 14.

In a news release after the arrest, RCMP said the owner of a cabin at the Deadwood Creek Campsite in Nanaimo caught a couple breaking in and dragged them out to the campground’s main gate. Police alleged the man bear sprayed one of the civilians and fled into the mountains, with Const. Grafton and police dog Jager giving pursuit.

Banford’s lawsuit alleges the Grafton “provided misleading details” of the events surrounding the arrest “to justify the brutality that he inflicted upon the plaintiff.”

The lawsuit claims Grafton ordered the police dog to attack Banford while he was on the ground while the officer elbowed, punched and kicked him.

“Grafton encouraged the dog to continue to bite the plaintiff even when the plaintiff was face down in the ground,” the lawsuit says. “Grafton did nothing to stop the dog from continuously biting the plaintiff.”

The civil claim says Banford suffered injuries to his face, upper thigh, ribs, bite marks to his thigh, a broken nose and facial bone fractures that required surgery.

Const. Grafton’s response filed in October disputed every point of Banford’s lawsuit, claiming he was required to apply force to complete the arrest and protect himself.

A response filed in November by the federal and provincial governments said Grafton used “limited but reasonable force to gain control of the plaintiff” after Banford struggled against arrest once the dog caught him.

None of the allegations by any party have been proven in court.

The Independent Investigation Office of B.C. previously reviewed the arrest and cleared police of wrongdoing after finding inconsistencies in Banford’s story.

“The degree of force used was at the upper end of the justifiable range and, in different circumstances, might well be considered excessive. In these circumstances, however, it was not,” the IIO determined.

Const. Grafton is currently facing charges related to a rough arrest in Prince George in February 2016. He was criminally charged in June with two counts of assault and one count of making false statements in his dog handler’s report related to the arrest.

Banford’s lawyer Michael Patterson says he has requested disclosure of the dog handler’s report associated with the arrest in Nanaimo, but it has not yet been produced.