The estranged wife of a man who died after being Tasered by police in Chilliwack Saturday said she did not want to drop her four-year-old daughter off for a supervised visit, but she was under a court order to do so.
Candi Meadows said her husband David was granted a minimum of two hours a week of supervised visits with the little girl, but given his history of drug use and erratic behaviour she was more than hesitant.
“I didn’t want to drop her off anymore because I knew he was still using [drugs],” Meadows told The Progress Monday. “I asked what was going to happen if I didn’t, and [I was told] it would violate the court order. I had to drop her off.”
So she did drop the four-year-old off at Seasons Mediation and Family Services at Vedder and Spruce Drive for the visit on Feb. 24, which soon after ended in tragedy.
David fled from the supervised visit with the young girl some time around 2 p.m. Witnesses say the 42-year-old ran out into traffic carrying the girl at least twice crossing Vedder Road.
Taylor Smith said she and another male intervened and wrestled the girl away from David after which he fled and was reportedly tackled by a civilian.
Mounties arrived soon after. A statement issued by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) said RCMP reported the man resisted arrest and a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW), commonly referred to as a Taser, was deployed.
The man went into medical stress, and following CPR performed by a Mountie and later medical attention from paramedics, he died.
The IIO is an independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death.
@iiobc investigators have been deployed to a fatal incident in Chilliwack. A statement will be issued in due course.
— IIOBC (@iiobc) February 25, 2018
The wife of the man who died said this wasn’t the first time he had behaved erratically with the young girl. A witness at the scene who intervened and took care of the four-year-old also said the little girl reported to her about a prior incident.
“It was very alarming to me that this happened,” witness Taylor Smith said. “Because I also learned from the girl her dad tried to jump off a roof with her recently.”
Candi Meadows confirmed that one time nearly two years ago the man tried to throw the girl off a balcony, after which he jumped off himself.
“He admitted he was doing drugs. Also, he thought Hell’s Angels and aliens were trying to get him,” she said. “That’s why I didn’t want to drop her off. When he uses he gets dangerous.”
David Meadows was under a no-contact order for Candi and for her older daughter. He faced two criminal counts of disobeying that court order and, after a Feb. 22 court appearance, he was next due in court on March 6.
Another witness, Sandra Hocks, said the incident happened very quickly, but she saw four officers on top of the male on the ground at the northwest corner of Storey Avenue and Vedder Road.
She didn’t know a Taser had been deployed, and she then witnessed on officer performing CPR until B.C. Paramedics arrived.
“It is kind of rattling to watch someone die,” Hocks said.
Smith said she was driving south on Vedder Road when she witnessed Meadows running onto the street with the child. She and a male got out to help, and while the altercation with police took place, Smith stayed with the little girl in front of the 7-Eleven.
Someone from Seasons who was reportedly supervising the visit a few blocks to the south showed up right behind the man and his daughter.
Smith said the little girl was terrified because of the commotion, but sadly she was not terribly surprised.
“She was quite upset and crying and panicking, but then she calmed down when we went into the 7-Eleven,” Smith said. “She told me, ‘sometimes my visits go really bad with my dad.’”
Smith added that she felt all the coverage of the Taser death of the father overlooked the plight of this young girl caught in a terrible situation.
“She’s kind of fallen through the cracks.”
As for how she is doing two days after the death of her troubled father, the little girl’s mother said they haven’t talked much about the incident.
“I just said ‘it’s not your fault’ and I’m just letting her play for now,” Candi said.
“She just said, ‘Dada was trying to get me somewhere safe and he disappeared and went to heaven.’”
The IIO is now investigating to see if there is any link between police action and the man’s death. Anyone who witnessed this incident is asked to contact the IIO BC at 1-855-446-8477.