The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death of a man in police custody in Amherst, Nova Scotia. It has been reported that officers allegedly took a man, whose age has not been released publicly, to the police department on the morning of June 29, 2019, because they assumed he was drunk. At some point while the man was detained in a holding cell medical assistance was called. The man was taken to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, where he died of his medical issues on Sunday, June 30.
Category Archives: Death in Custody
A 52-year-old man has died after being arrested at a Harvey’s restaurant in Kingston, Ontario on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is examining the death. According to the SIU, Kingston police responded to a call at around 1:30 PM regarding a man allegedly “behaving erratically” at the Harvey’s restaurant at Princess and Regent streets. When officers arrived, police claim they found the man in the restroom and took him into custody. The man was later taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No details have been released publicly about what “behaving erratically” meant, why police rather than health care experts were sent to the scene, or why the police arrested the man. No details have been provided either about what happened between the man being taken into custody and his later being transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police control all of this information and its means of release (or not).
A person has died after being detained by RCMP in Prince George, British Columbia. According to the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, the RCMP detained the victim at 11:24 PM on Friday, July 19 and they were found to be in distress at about 4:25 AM on Saturday morning. They were taken to hospital by paramedics and, according to the hospital, died at 6:46 AM that day.
No other details have been released publicly at this time.
The family of a man who died during an arrest by Winnipeg police has identified him as Randy Cochrane, a 30-year-old father of three. Family members are calling for answers into what happened during the arrest and why there appear to be discrepancies in what police reported and what doctors in the hospital emergency have said.
Randy Cochrane’s cousin Monica Murdock asks pointedly:
“My family’s devastated. We want to know what happened to him. Why did he die in cuffs? Why were they chasing him? Why are they saying he was bloody but the doctors we went and saw at the emergency room last night said that he had no injuries? (quoted in Grabish 2019)
Murdock reports that doctors at the Health Sciences Centre told her family on Sunday, after Cochrane died, that the young man had suffered a heart attack and had a high fever. She also reports that they told her there were no other injuries on his body. She says that doctors informed her that it was too late by the time Cochrane arrived at the hospital at 4:30 PM because he had been without a pulse for some time (Grabish 2019).
Murdock describes her cousin as “a fierce protector of his family” and she says “he was more like a brother to her” (2019). She relates fondly: “He always made sure we were protected. We were safe. The last time I saw him he came to my house and he gave me some money for my baby ‘cause my daughter’s in the hospital” (quoted in Grabish 2019).
Marjorie Cochrane raised Randy after adopting him. She remembers:
“He was really always close to his daughters. It’s hard. Taking it hard” (quoted in Grabish 2019).
She too has important questions for police: “What happened when they handcuffed him?” (quoted in Grabish 2019).
A witness, Will Couture, says Cochrane, rather than being a threat, appeared to be shouting for help while running from something or someone (2019). Couture reports that the man, kept repeating “help me, help me” (Grabish 2019). He then saw police chase Cochrane across the street.
Couture claims that the man looked “freaked out.” In his words: “Just scared. Just like terrified of something you know what I mean? It was like the devil was chasing him” (quoted in Grabish 2019).
If it was the police, he may be completely right in that.
Grabish, Austin. 2019. “Family Demands Answers after Father of 3 Dies in Police Custody.” CBC News July 15. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/police-custody-death-north-end-winnipeg-1.5212209
According to the Independent Investigations Unit of Manitoba, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, the arrest occurred in the city’s North End, around Flora Avenue and Parr Street. Police allegedly saw a man they believed to be bleeding and armed with a weapon and chased him on foot, catching him not far away. During the arrest the man became unresponsive. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. It has not been conformed publicly that the man was bleeding prior to the arrest.
A 43-year-old man died on July 1, 2019, after being arrested by Edmonton Police Service officers on June 28. According to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, reports that officers allegedly went to 100 Avenue and 114 Street at around 10:30 PM on June 28 in response to a complaint about a man starting small fires in the area. Police encountered a man and arrested him in a violent takedown.
According to ASIRT, police only determined the man was in medical distress after he was carried to a police van. He was then removed from the van and an ambulance called. The man was taken to hospital, where he died on the evening of July 1.
The arrest was recorded and a portion of the video posted to social media.
A 50-year-old man died during an arrest at a home in Laval, Quebec in the early hours of June 28. Quebec’s Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death. The BEI reports that police were called to a residence on 35th Avenue just after midnight following reports of a “violent family dispute.” The nature of the dispute and the man’s part in it have not been released publicly. The BEI do report that the man was being handcuffed and was on his knees when he stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Eight BEI officers have been assigned to investigate the killing.