Severely injured Shelly. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Woman files civil claim against a Burns Lake constable

Excessive police force among other allegations

A Burns Lake RCMP officer may have been cleared of an allegation of excessive force in an incident last December but a civilian involved has now filed a civil claim.

In a civil claim filed May 17, Shelly Lewis of Burns Lake says she suffered injuries and a subsequent loss of income in the process of being detained by Constable Duncan McDonald on Dec. 6, 2020 at her Tchesinkut Lake residence.

Around noon on that date Burns Lake RCMP said they responded to a report of an impaired snowmobile operator. Officers located Lewis’ boyfriend, arrested him and took him to RCMP cells without incident.

According to the police report, while one officer was waiting with the snowmobile for a tow truck, a woman exited the residence and attempted to approach the snowmobile to retrieve something.

What Lewis says happened next has her seeking damages for pain, suffering, loss of amenities, loss of enjoyment of life, damages for past lost income and loss of opportunity to earn income, damages for future loss of income and future earning capacity, damages for past and future cost of care, damages for loss of housing capacity, special damages, costs of this action, costs of past and future health care services under the Health Care Costs Recovery Act (HCCRA) and aggravated and punitive damages.

Lewis’ lawyer, Daniel McNamee of the Jensen Law Group in Kamloops, has filed her legal claim, which states that on that day in December, an unknown RCMP member or members searched parts of the residence and garage without a warrant after arriving at Lewis’ residence.

“I don’t know how many police. But I saw one officer looking up into my window and another standing beside him when I looked out to see who it was. I quickly got dressed and went outside just to be told to go back in so I did and then I went back out to ask what’s happening and they told me to go back inside or I’ll be arrested so I did,” Lewis told Lakes District News, adding that she stepped outside to get the keys to her brand new snowmobile and papers, only after she saw the police officers leaving with Darcy.

”I was on the phone with my sister when I went outside to get my key and paperwork from my snowmobile and this is when Constable McDonald attacked me from behind. Resulting in all my injuries,” she added.

The notice of civil claim states that about 20 minutes after most police officers left the residence, she was standing on her front lawn when the remaining constable, McDonald, demanded that she stop moving.

It further states that she complied fully with the verbal direction and while she was immobile and compliant, the officer ran at Shelly Lewis and tackled her from behind and proceeded to arrest her without warrant or any grounds.

The civil claim states that he slammed Lewis to the ground which resulted in personal injuries and a fractured arm. She was then arrested and taken down to the Burns Lake RCMP detachment and held in custody, something the suit says was false imprisonment.

“While in custody, she was humiliated during a strip search and required to and assisted in removing her wire bra in the presence of male officers at the detachment,” says the claim.

The circumstances were reported to the Independent Investigations Offfice (IIO) of B.C., which looks into matters where people are either injured or who have died during involvement with police.

A news release issued by the IIO stated that the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO reviewed the medical evidence and determined that the injury sustained by the woman does not meet the threshold required for serious harm as defined by the Police Act.

“Because there isn’t a death, the IIO has stepped away but I have lost like six months of work because I can’t work after the whole incident,” said Lewis, a drywaller, who has since lost her work due to limited mobility of her arm and shoulder.

The legal notice states the injuries ranged from whiplash, to a chipped tooth, headaches and concussion, a fractured arm, nausea, shoulder pain, back pain, chest pain, jaw pain, emotional upset and post-traumatic stress.

“She complained of being in pain and needing medical attention while she was held in the city cells but her complaints were ignored and she was not provided with any medical attention after her arrest. As a result of the unlawful arrest, the excessive force, the false imprisonment, the strip search and the refusal to provide medical care, the plaintiff has sustained personal injury, loss and expense all of which have caused and continue to cause her pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, loss of income and loss of earning capacity,” states the notice of civil claim.

A response to the civil claim can now be made but has to be made within 21 days after the notice of the claim is served.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

Like us on Facebook and follows us on Twitter.


Severely injured Shelly. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read