On Sept. 11, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the detention of a 59-year-old man who went into medical distress while in custody at the Ponoka RCMP detachment.
On Sept. 9, Ponoka RCMP were called to assist Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel with an intoxicated, injured 59-year-old man. The man initially refused medical attention, but after some discussion he was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital, where he was examined by medical professionals who conducted a CT scan and later released him.
On Sept. 10, at about 10:53 p.m., RCMP received a disturbance complaint regarding an intoxicated male in the area of 46 Avenue and 55 Street in Ponoka. Upon arriving at the scene, RCMP discovered the same man from the previous day lying on the ground. The man had been drinking and was exhibiting signs of intoxication. He was taken, without incident, into custody for being intoxicated in a public place, and placed in a cell at the Ponoka RCMP detachment.
The next morning, at about 5:51 a.m., the man fell in his cell. He was checked and was responsive to staff. At about 7 a.m., when the man failed to wake up, staff entered his cell but he remained unresponsive. Staff provided emergency medical care until EMS arrived to take over and transport the man to Red Deer Regional Hospital. Upon examination, it is believed that the man had, at some point, sustained a significant head injury. He was admitted in critical condition. At about 9 p.m., he was pronounced deceased.
ASIRT’s investigation will focus on the police contact with the man, including during his detention in custody. The RCMP Major Crimes Unit has assumed conduct of the investigation into what may have happened to the man in the days leading to his death, outside of his contact with police.
As ASIRT’s investigation is underway, no further information will be released at this time.
- News release distributed by the Government of Alberta on behalf of ASIRT
Following a disturbance complaint, a 59-year-old male was arrested by Ponoka RCMP and lodged in the RCMP detachment’s cells.
While in custody, it was recognized that the male was in medical distress. EMS was contacted and the male was transported to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Because this event occurred while the male was in RCMP custody, the investigation into the cause of his medical condition was reported to the Director of Law Enforcement. The matter has been referred to ASIRT for investigation.
The RCMP believes in processes that seek the facts and it’s important that processes taken to assess the actions of all those involved, including the police, are fair, transparent, and defendable.
The RCMP’s internal review process, in conjunction with the ASIRT process, has been implemented to gather a full account of what took place during this incident.
As the investigation into the incident is now with ASIRT, we will not be commenting further. All media inquiries about this incident should be directed to ASIRT at 780-641-9099.
- Submitted by Ponoka RCMP