The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the death of a 55-year-old woman in custody of the Edmonton police over the long weekend between August 6 and 7, 2017. The circumstances leading to the death were initiated in as little as a call about intoxication at a transit station. Why people call police over such things might be asked. On Sunday, August 6, police responded to the Belvedere LRT Station and “dealt with” three people who were allegedly intoxicated. A 55-year-old woman was arrested and taken into custody, being placed in a holding cell with other people at city police headquarters. She had initially been taken to the northeast division facility before being taken to police headquarters, but no explanation has been provided for why that move was made. Around 10 AM the next morning the woman was found unresponsive and in medical distress on the floor of the cell. ASIRT has reported that there were “no obvious signs of significant trauma or injury.” The woman was transported to hospital in critical condition by EMS crews and died there later that evening.
Category Archives: Alberta
On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, RCMP Constable Michelle Phillips had her first court appearance on charges of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the killing of 41-year-old Tracy Janvier on August 21, 2016.
Janvier’s family is speaking publicly about concerns that this RCMP killing is going to be swept under the rug. Tracy Janvier was walking on a highway near Anzac, south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, when struck by a car and injured. Incredibly Constable Phillips drove over and killed the stricken victim while racing to the scene without slowing.
In a news release announcing the laying of charges the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province stated:
“While responding [to the scene] at an extremely high rate of speed, the officer came upon a number of vehicles stopped on one side of the highway with their lights on and proceeded to drive past these vehicles without slowing. Unfortunately, this location was where the pedestrian had been originally struck and the officer ran over the injured pedestrian prone on the roadway with the police vehicle, killing him.”
The police vehicle also hit a 71-year-old man who was helping Janvier. That man suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The family is concerned it was kept in the dark regarding the change in time of Constable Phillips’ court appearance.
Said Marina Nokohoo, Janvier’s sister, at the courthouse in Fort McMurray: “My brother deserves justice. He paid the ultimate price. My mom and dad, they’ve lost a child. So they feel that loss. They feel that impact more than any of us. Yet, because they are still our parents they are still taking care of us who are grieving.” (quoted in Thurton 2017).
Nokohoo continued: “I just don’t want to make it so that my brother’s death is going to be swept under the rug, or it’s going to be forgotten about. He’s my brother. He’s a human being. He’s important as anyone else” (quoted in Thurton 2017).
The next court date is scheduled for August 30, 2017.
Thurton, David. 2017. “‘My Brother Deserves Justice,’ Says Family of Alberta Man Killed by Speeding RCMP Vehicle.” CBC News. August 2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/tracy-janvier-rcmp-vehicle-killed-anzac-asirt-1.4233099
A police chase in Edmonton has left one man dead and a woman in hospital with life-threatening injuries. after a stolen truck involved in a police chase collided head-on with a car Monday evening. The pursuit started at around 8 PM on the evening of Monday, July 3, 2017 near 170th Street and 87th Avenue. Police apparently pursued the vehicle, a truck, west out of the city in the Winterburn Road area of the city. The truck is said to have collided head-on with a car on the exit ramp from Anthony Henday Drive southbound leading to Whitemud Drive westbound. The man driving the car died at the scene. A female passenger in the car was taken to hospital and suffers life-threatening injuries. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) mirrors other police oversight bodies in Canada in routinely and regularly letting police officers off the hook when they kill civilians. It is rare that they find against officers and rare that they recommend charges befitting the actions of officers. On June 13, 2017 ASIRT announced that they will not recommend charges against Edmonton police officers in the death of a 46-year-old man who died during a rough ride in a police van.
The incident followed the man’s arrest on October 25, 2015. Incredibly, the man had been jumped and held for police by members of the public who believed he had damaged cars in the area in north Edmonton. The man was initially taken to hospital but then released back into police custody. The following day the man was denied bail and was to be returned to the remand centre. Police put him on his back in the prisoner transport van with his legs elevated. Only a few blocks later, Edmonton police officers found the man unresponsive and not breathing.An autopsy later determined that the man died as a result of cardiac arrest.
Toxicology results found there to be no alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications in his bloodstream denying police some version of the “excited delirium” excuse. It turns out they did not need it.
According to ASIRT, the officers were performing the lawful execution of their duties. This should be a reminder that for police lawful execution of their duties includes lawful execution of civilians.
It is among the rarest of a rarities. A police officer who kills a civilian actually being criminally charged with something. Anything. On Friday, June 16, 2017, killer cop Michelle Phillips, an RCMP constable in Alberta, was charged with one count of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm for driving over and killing a 41-year-old pedestrian who had been injured in a prior collision and striking and seriously injuring a 71-year-old man who was helping the injured man. The crash and killing occurred on August 21, 2016, on Highway 881 near Anzac, Alberta, 420 kilometers north of Edmonton.
The charges were announced by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province. The ASIRT release described officer Phillips’ actions as follows:
“While responding at an extremely high rate of speed, the officer came upon a number of vehicles stopped on one side of the highway with their lights on and proceeded to drive past these vehicles without slowing. Unfortunately, this location was where the pedestrian had been originally struck and the officer ran over the injured pedestrian prone on the roadway with the police vehicle, killing him, and striking the hand of a 71-year-old man who had been rendering aid to the pedestrian, causing serious injury.”
An internal RCMP code of conduct review is underway and the officer, who had one year of service at the time of the deadly crash, has been suspended with pay. Phillips has been released on a promise to appear. She is set to appear in Fort McMurray provincial court on August 2, 2017.
This decision is, as all such decisions are, surprising given the state’s preference for protecting police. Of course this does not mean a conviction will result. ASIRT has been criticized recently for practices that appear to favor killer cops.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the unit that investigates case of police harm to civilians in the province, is examining the death of an as yet unnamed 32-year-old man in RCMP custody on Saturday, May 13, 2017. The man was in custody at the Fort McMurray RCMP detachment for supposedly drug-related offenses. Unverified police claims state that the man asked to make a phone call at about 2:45 AM Saturday morning. Four minutes after he was moved to a secure room to make the call, RCMP claim they entered the room to find the man on the floor in some medical distress. He was supposedly treated by paramedics at the scene but died two hours later in hospital. None of the police claims have been independently confirmed.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) the provincial body that investigates incidents of police harm to civilians in the province, is quickly developing a reputation for letting cops off on flimsy grounds when they are involved in civilian deaths.
On Friday, April 21, 2017 ASIRT announced that no officers from the Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service (TNPS) would be charged after a 25-year-old man in police custody apparently killed himself. This despite the fact that the ASIRT investigation found that the force did not follow the “specific protocols [which] were in place” for times when the man, who was known by police, was taken into police custody. According to the ASIRT ruling said “procedural errors” were made and the man was left unsupervised, which protocol said he should not have been “resulting in a sufficient amount of time to commit suicide” (ASIRT).
The man had been arrested on February 17, 2015, supposedly for intoxication and a complaint about his presence at a residence. So once again police were called to address a health care issue and the result is a civilian death.
ASIRT, which has an apparent habit of offering bogus excuses for officers and forces involved in civilian deaths, such as the dubious “excited delirium” claim, this time went one better. Their report attributed the man’s death to the vague and rather unscientific explanation of a “perfect storm” resulting in the man’s death. Surely this is clearly an ideological or copaganda mystification that excuses the officers involved for their own active choices and actions, the committing of procedural errors, and the role those played in contributing to the death. Yet the “perfect storm” means even a consideration of something like negligence is nullified. To the benefit of the police officers responsible.
ASIRT said in a statement that: “This case, however, should remind officers of the duty of care they undertake when exercising custody or control of another person” (ASIRT). Yet there is no mechanism to go beyond the occasional reminder when the investigative body keeps providing excuses to get cops off when civilians die in their custody.
Similarly, in a statement, Chief Keith Blake of the TNPS said: “The Tsuut’ina Police remain absolutely committed to the highest levels of care for those persons in our care and custody” (Statement). Yet this case shows the lack of commitment to even basic standards of their own protocol. So one might well ask what it is they remain committed too.