No charges recommended against RCMP in parkade death

KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops RCMP officer has been found not criminally negligent after he tasered an 18-year-old man who jumped from the Royal Inland Hospital parkade last summer. 

On June 11, 2014, two police officers responded to a report of a youth who left the hospital and was in distress. Officers tried to convince Jacob Setah to come back from the ledge of the hospital's parkade by giving him cigarettes and blankets.

When Setah approached to take a third cigarette from the negotiating officer, a second officer tasered him before he broke free and jumped from the structure. Setah was severely injured and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. was called in to determine the role RCMP officers played in the death.

The investigations office is an agency that conducts investigations into cases where RCMP force has resulted in serious injury or death. Cases are examined in order to determine if an officer committed an offence.

“Given all of the evidence, there is no cause to believe (the officer) committed any offence based on the actions he took in attempting to take the affected person into protective custody,” Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal said in his report released yesterday, March 12.

Investigators interviewed witnesses, including RCMP officers who witnessed the event and the officers dealing with Setah. The two officers responsible for negotiations with the man submitted statements vetted by the same lawyer they both hired.

Witnesses described hearing Setah yell at security officers and police to stay away while he threatened to jump. They also heard him ask for cigarettes and blankets. Others described hearing the taser and witnessing the jump. One of the officers who witnessed the event said they noticed the situation was difficult for officers to rush Setah as he was standing between a parked car and a ledge.

“It didn’t look to me like an ideal option to rush (the affected person.) I could see that being ineffective and then perhaps a precipitating factor for jumping,” one officer said.

Setah was from Hanceville, B.C., a hamlet near Williams Lake.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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