N.W.T. RCMP officers' trial for excessive use of force begins in Yellowknife

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RCMP headquarters in Yellowknife. Two officers go on trial Monday for excessive use of force.  (Andrew Pacey/CBC - image credit)
RCMP headquarters in Yellowknife. Two officers go on trial Monday for excessive use of force. (Andrew Pacey/CBC - image credit)

The trial of two Northwest Territories RCMP officers accused of using excessive use of force begins Monday in Yellowknife.

Cpl. Jason Archer and Cst. Francesca Bechard were each charged with one count of assault last August. They've pleaded not guilty, and both remain working at the Yellowknife detachment.

The charges stem back to an incident on Oct. 14, 2020, when police were lodging 25-year-old Tracella Romie in cells.

In January of last year, Romie told CBC News she was put in the back of an RCMP vehicle by two officers and brought to the Yellowknife detachment, where two other officers also detained her.

Romie said she was intoxicated and remembers very little of that night, but she does remember spitting up blood and officers pulling her handcuffed hands high in the air in a painful manner. When she was released, she went to a friend's house and found bruises on her back, shoulders and wrists.

Police said the incident was later reported by a senior officer of Yellowknife detachment, and the officer in charge of the detachment requested a criminal investigation, which was undertaken by Alberta RCMP, as an outside independent police agency.

The investigation was then sent to the Crown prosecution's office for evaluation, an RCMP release said, and the Crown recommended charges.

The five-day trial is scheduled to begin in territorial court on Monday.

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