RCMP in British Columbia have admitted that an officer took a helmet from a motorcyclist who was later that night killed in a crash, despite earlier claims that the officer did not "confiscate" the helmet.
An RCMP press release issued June 25 says a police officer "removed and held two helmets" on the night of June 12-13 from "unattended motorcycles" that he found parked in Oliver. The press release says the officer thought he knew the owners of the motorcycles and had earlier that evening seen these same two bikes "being driven erratically."
"The officer waited by the motorcycles for the owners to return and departed after leaving a note on the motorcycle advising the registered owner to call the officer in order to retrieve the helmets."
At 2:30 a.m. that night, the same officer went to the scene of a crash and found 41-year-old Robert Charles Mitchell in serious condition after slamming into the rear end of a pickup truck that was driven by a man who was not hurt. Mitchell, who had not been wearing a helmet, later died in Kelowna General Hospital.
RCMP had said on June 17 that the officer had not taken the helmets, and the later press release was intended to "correct inaccurate information which was previously relayed to a local Oliver media agency days after the collision."
"The officer’s primary intention of removing and holding the helmets," says the press release, "were in order to prevent the possible theft of the helmets, in addition to preventing the continuation of any offences involving the motorcycles."
RCMP are investigating the matter.