Category Archives: Death in Custody

Man Dies After Being Tased by Peel Regional Police (Nov. 20, 2019)

A 30-year-old man has died after being tasered by Peel Regional Police in Mississauga, Ontario (Greater Toronto Area), during an aggressive arrest. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of polce harm to civilians in Ontario, Peel Regional Police say they were called to Runningbrook Drive in Mississauga at around 3:15 AM on report of a “suspicious male causing a disturbance.” Officers allegedly encountered the man in the backyard of a residence and, according to the SIU, some type of “struggle ensued.”

SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon reports: “As part of the struggle, several use-of-force options were used, including the deployment of a conducted energy weapon.” The man was taken into custody and soon after lost consciousness. According to Hudon, the victim was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead shortly around 4:19 AM.

No other details have yet been released publicly, including the nature of force or compliance measures used by police against the victim during the fatal encounter and arrest.

This is the second death in Mississauga in months involving conducted energy weapons. The SIU is still investigating the death of a 34-year-old man when police used a stun gun against him on September 10, 2019. These are not “non-lethal” weapons as has been shown in numerous cases.


Man Dies in Edmonton Police Custody (Nov. 16, 2019)

A man has died two days after being arrested by Edmonton police on November 14, 2019. According to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, Edmonton Police Service officers were called to the University of Alberta on November 14 at around 8 AM to assist campus police with a 28-year-old man they had detained in custody. ASIRT reports that campus police officers found the man “trespassing” inside the Students’ Union Building, lying on a bench, not wearing a shirt or shoes. Police claim the man seemed intoxicated. It is not clear why the man was targeted as trespassing given that the University of Alberta is a public postsecondary institution.

According to ASIRT, police officers claim the man was shaking and unable to sit still and could not walk without help. Rather than seeking medical attention or assistance police arrested the man. At the southwest police station, the man was medically assessed “and he was cleared for custody.”

At 2 PM that afternoon, he was taken to the EPS Detainee Management Unit, and again medically assessed and cleared for custody.

According to ASIRT: “When transported to the Edmonton Remand Centre, however, a third medical assessment raised concerns and the man was transported to hospital.”

The man died there two days later, on November 16. ASIRT reports that his condition, whatever it was at the time of arrest, worsened following his arrest.


Clayton Donnelly (38) Dies After Being Tased by RCMP in Malakwa, BC (Oct. 28, 2019)

A 38-year-old man, identified publicly as Clayton Donnelly, died within hours of being tased by RCMP during an arrest in Malakwa, British Columbia (near Sicamous in the Okanagan), on October 28, 2019.

Ron MacDonald of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the unit that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia, reports:

“There was a driver who had been involved with the police earlier in a couple of other attempts to stop they vehicle he was driving. There was an interaction between the individual and the police where there was a struggle between the police and the individual. During that struggle, the male went unconscious.”

The IIO reports that the victim went into medical distress during the arrest. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died there.

Clayton Donnelly’s step-mother Kelly Harrison took to social media to say that Donnelly struggled for years with his mental health. Incredibly she had to respond to police sycophants who blamed Donnelly for being killed.

In a Facebook post she addressed hateful comments posted online about Donnelly. She also pointed out the lack of support available to people suffering from mental health issues. In her words:

“For those who like to condemn and judge and leave nasty messages on Facebook, maybe think a bit how you feel if it was your own loved one.

“If I see one more comment, that he is a criminal and he deserved it I will scream. He is not a criminal he is a tortured soul, who was suffering from mental illness. This story is also about a wonderful family, that for over two years tried to get him help with success!”

It might be noted that police continue to receive increased funding even as necessary social services and supports are underfunded or subjected to budget cuts.


Killer Cop Nicholas Doering Found Guilty in Death of Debra Chrisjohn of Oneida of the Thames First Nation

A judge in London, Ontario, has found Constable Nicholas Doering guilty in the death of 39-year-old Debra Chrisjohn, an Indigenous woman, the mother of 11 children, who died shortly after being arrested. Chrisjohn, of Oneida of the Thames First Nation, was arrested on September 7, 2016, after police were to Trafalgar Street and Highbury Avenue North, an intersection in London’s east end, regarding a woman allegedly obstructing traffic.

Chrisjohn was arrested by London police and then transferred to the Elgin County OPP detachment. Paramedics later took her to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital at 7:52 PM. She was pronounced dead almost one hour later.

Constable Nicholas Doering was charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life. Ontario Provincial Police Const. Mark McKillop had also been charged but his charge was later dropped.

The conviction of a police officer in the death of a civilian remains rare in Canada. Yet it is worth noting that this conviction comes only a day after killer cop Justin Holz was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death for killing Cody Severight, a 23-year-old Indigenous man in 2017.


19-Year-Old Man Dies In Custody of Onion Lake, Saskatchewan, RCMP (Oct. 12, 2019)

A 19-year-old man died on the morning of October 12, 2019, while in-custody at the RCMP Detachment in Onion Lake. Saskatchewan. RCMP have only reported that the youth’s death was “sudden.” In their media, the RCMP say the man, from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, was found unresponsive in the cell area shortly after 8 AM. Paramedics were apparently called, and the man was pronounced dead on the scene.

There is no outside unit in Saskatchewan to investigate police-involved deaths in the province so police in Saskatchewan investigate police. In this case Moose Jaw Police are investigating the circumstances of the death. The Ministry of Justice is expected to appoint an observer during the investigation. In any event, this is an unacceptable process of one force “investigating” another force, a process that lacks credibility.


54-Year-Old Man Dies in Police Custody in The Pas, Manitoba (Oct. 5-6, 2019)

A 54-year-old man has died in police custody in The Pas, Manitoba, a town about 600 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg. According to the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, police arrested the man after responding to a call about an intoxicated person on October 5, 2019. He was put in a cell at the RCMP detachment at around 7 PM. The man was found unresponsive in his cell the next morning. According to the IIU, emergency medical services attended and pronounced the man dead in the detachment. Police and jail cells are not appropriate responses for someone dealing with substance use issues.


27-Year-Old Man Dies Following Forceful Arrest by Winnipeg Police (Sept. 30, 2019)

A 27-year-old man has died after being arrested by Winnipeg police. The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), the agency that examines cases of police harms to civilians in Manitoba, reports that on September 23 police officers responded to a call about a man in some distress who is said to have appeared confused and was yelling in an area near Assiniboine Avenue and Kennedy Street at around 12:42 AM. The IIU reports that police used force to arrest him. During the arrest the man became unresponsive and was taken to hospital in critical condition. The victim died in hospital on September 30.

This death again raises the question of why police, who respond, and quickly, with force are being sent to deal with health care crises. Police are not, and should not be, health care workers. This is at least the seventh through police action in Winnipeg in 2019.