Castlegar RCMP Const. Jason Tait has been acquitted of manslaughter and dangerous driving in Nelson court, nearly six years after the shooting death of Waylon Edey ( for previous coverage, see https://castlegarsource.com/news/manslaughter-trial-castlegar-officer-scheduled-early-september ), and after only a very brief jury deliberation.
The National Police Federation issued the following statement this morning:
"The NPF applauds and welcomes last night's jury verdict finding Cst. Jason Tait "not guilty" and acquitting him of the charge related to a January 2015 incident in Castlegar , involving the attempted arrest of a prohibited driver, Waylon Edey , who had a lengthy record of impaired driving and violence.
"The jury returned their decision after only five hours of deliberation, following eight weeks of trial.
"This should have been resolved much earlier, and should not have gone to court, leaving both Cst. Tait, his family, and Mr. Edey's family waiting for five years for a clear and fair resolution. Unfortunately, at that time, the Independent Investigation Office of BC was overwhelmed and under-resourced, resulting in a split decision and a lengthy, unnecessary subsequent criminal proceeding.
"The NPF supports independent oversight and believes that complaints against Members of the RCMP need to be investigated fully, fairly, transparently, and - most importantly - resolved in a timely and effective manner out of respect for all parties.
"Cst. Tait deserves and looks forward to returning to the role and duties for which he is highly qualified and committed, and to continue making a positive contribution to his community.
"Just as the RCMP need to consider all ways to continuously evolve and enhance the delivery of services to those we serve, the IIO and Crown need to look at tangible and effective ways to improve their process for timely, thorough and transparent investigations."