Black Press file photo

RCMP not at fault for in-custody death in South Okanagan

An investigation lead by IIO determined the arresting officer, detachment not at fault

A man’s death while in Penticton RCMP custody was determined to be caused by an existing health condition.

An investigation performed by the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) determined the 55-year-old man’s death that happened on Aug. 16, 2018, to be “inevitable,” stating that after an autopsy was performed the pathologist was of the opinion that the cause of death was heart disease.

“This is an unfortunate situation where (the man’s) health caused his death during the short period of time he was in custody awaiting his attendance in court. The autopsy confirmed there was no trauma suffered by (the man), other than would be expected from lifesaving measures, and that his death was caused by heart disease,” reads the IIO’s report. “It would appear his death was inevitable, and although it may be that the stress of his arrest aggravated the situation somewhat, (the officer) was acting entirely lawfully and appropriately throughout.”

The man was pulled over during a routine traffic stop by Keremeos RCMP at approximately 7:05 a.m. on Aug. 16 when it was determined he had an outstanding arrest warrant. After allowing the man to move his vehicle to a safe location and permitting him to bring his medication, the arresting officer transported the man to the Penticton detachment between 7:35 and 7:39 a.m.

The IIO report states that while in custody, the man’s movements were continuously recorded by CCTV “from the time he and (the officer) arrived in the secure bay at 7:39 a.m. until (he) was taken out of his cell by paramedics at 9:58 p.m.”

“The only physical contact between (the man) and (the officer) that is seen on CCTV was when handcuffs were removed and during the finger printing process,” reads the report. “(The man) was then given access to his medications and secured in a cell. Cell block records also confirm that (the man) was provided with his medication.”

Once in his cell, the report states that the man laid down on his left side and then sat up briefly, returning to a laid down position at approximately 9:10 a.m. According to cell block records, he was “checked and observed at appropriate intervals during this time” and sherriffs entered his cell at 9:19 a.m.

“CCTV shows (the sherriff) entering (the man’s) cell and when (he) did not immediately rouse (the sherriff) left and returned with another sherriff. The sherriffs quicky commenced and continued CPR until 9:29 a.m. when paramedics arriced and took over,” states the investigation report.

The man was then transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m. During the autopsy, which was performed with IIO investigators present, the pathologist found that the man’s heart was enlarged and his arteries were significantly obstructed.

“The evidence collected does not provide grounds to consider any charges against any officer. (The arresting officer) acted as requierd by his duties in accordance with the law,” states the report.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fabrication lab, offices and new washrooms coming to Revelstoke’s Business and Visitor Information Centre

City council awarded the $500,000 contract to Jordan Cochrane Construction

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read