100 Mile House RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after watchdog investigation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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100 Mile House RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after watchdog investigation

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

100 Mile House RCMP officers have been cleared of suspicion following a man's suicide after police custody.

On June 25, 2020, a man and a woman were arrested in Lone Butte and held overnight for drug possession and vehicle theft. The man, later transported to a Williams Lake shelter facility, was found dead on June 27, according to a recent Independent Investigations Office of B.C. report.

The couple, who were dating at the time, were kept in separate cells while in custody. Roughly nine hours after his arrest, the man attempted suicide in cells.

A jail guard told investigators that the man was "sobbing" and was attempting to get their attention so he could be with his girlfriend.

The man was described as "defeated," "very sad," but cooperative while in custody, according to the report. Officers were not concerned about a risk of suicide.

Around 7:15 p.m. on June 26, while the couple were still in custody, the woman behaved erratically and was subsequently transported to Kamloops for further assessment under the Mental Health Act.

The man was released with conditions around fifteen minutes later and was transported to the Williams Lake Friendship Society.

Although he was concerned that his girlfriend would not know where to reach him, the officer transporting him assured the man that she has been informed of his transport to Williams Lake, according to IIO report.

Friendship Society employees described the man to be emotional and "on the verge of crying," the independent investigation report reads.

He told them he was okay, and accepted offers to be introduced to local resources to help emotional and addiction issues.

Around 5 p.m., June 27, the man was found dead in his room and coroners later confirmed he had died of suicide.

According to the man's girlfriend, the couple were under the influence of drugs when they were arrested. They had also both agreed to a "suicide pact," in which they would both commit suicide if they were arrested, according to the report.

The independent investigation concluded that because the man was cooperative with RCMP during his arrest, no charges or arrests should be recommended due to police wrongdoing.

The report also concluded that the man's decision to commit suicide "crystalized" during his stay at the Williams Lake shelter when contact with his girlfriend in Kamloops proved difficult.

"If there were an error, it certainly cannot be said to rise to the level of wanton or reckless disregard for (his) wellbeing that would be sufficient to form the basis for a criminal charge," Chief civilian director, Ronald MacDonald's conclusion read.

If you're experiencing thoughts of suicide, or know someone who is, click here or call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for help any time from anywhere in B.C.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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