Incident leaves senior shaken

Cpl. Judson Mayes of the Midway detachment told the Times he could not comment on specifics.

Vern Rexin

A Rock Creek senior remains badly shaken after a Sept. 5 incident he claims was at the hands of a local RCMP officer.

When asked about the incident, Cpl. Judson Mayes of the Midway detachment told the Times he could not comment on specifics.

“Due to ongoing investigations, I am unable to provide any details,” Mayes said.

Vern Rexin, 80, alleges he was physically assaulted on his property by an RCMP officer, who had accompanied a B.C. Ministry of Forests service official responding to a report of a fire in the area.

Rexin, a former firefighter, had been burning a pile of yard waste, despite a fire ban still being in effect.

“I have a fair bit of knowledge of when it is safe to light a fire and when it is not and I decided this was a good time to burn,” Rexin said.

The day was wet and rainy and Rexin said he believed it would be safe for burning, though he said he was not surprised when a forestry official paid him a visit to investigate the fire.

“I thought I’d be able to reason with them and convince them that there was no danger of the fire spreading or burning out of control,” Rexin explained.  “I was wrong.”

According to Rexin, without any discussion he was ordered to extinguish the fire immediately. Rexin claims he was in the process of doing that when he was suddenly thrown to the ground by the police officer. Rexin said the officer then proceeded to “pound his knee on my head and neck until I was semi-conscious and then pepper spray me in the face.”

Rexin was handcuffed and transported to Grand Forks’ Boundary Hospital. A subsequent CT scan conducted the following day in Trail showed no broken bones.

Rexin also claims he was ordered to sign a form stating that he was being charged with a number of offenses, and that if he refused to do so he would be jailed. “Under protest, I signed,” said Rexin.