Former B.C. inmate claims correctional officers ignored call for help for dying prisoner - InfoNews

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Former B.C. inmate claims correctional officers ignored call for help for dying prisoner

June 24, 2020 - 4:22 PM

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - A former British Columbia inmate is suing the provincial government and two correctional officers for psychological harm, alleging his calls of help for a fellow inmate were ignored.

Gordon Hansen alleges in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit filed Monday that the two officers didn't stop the vehicle when shackled and handcuffed inmates being transported from a Prince George prison called for help when their fellow inmate went into distress.

The incident occurred on Oct. 4, 2018, and despite other inmates pounding on the walls and shouting, the officers didn't pull over to ask what had happened, the lawsuit says.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.

The Ministry of Public Safety said in a statement on Wednesday that BC Corrections can confirm an in-custody death on Oct. 4, 2018.

"With this matter before the courts, we are unable to comment further," it said.

One of the inmates, who was in the same compartment as Hansen, ingested something and appeared to pass out and slide off the bench, says the lawsuit.

"Despite all the other inmates pounding on the walls and shouting, the corrections officers' only response to the shouting and pounding was to slam on the brakes and make the inmates fall," it says.

"The corrections van stopped for coffee in Williams Lake but did not respond to the inmates' calls for help."

By the time the officers pulled over, the inmate was unresponsive and a passerby who stopped preformed CPR, but the man died, the lawsuit says.

The paramedics arrived on the scene approximately 40 minutes later, it says.

The lawsuit claims the corrections officers breached their duty of care to Hansen and failed to exercise the standard of care required of a reasonable and careful person by failing to respond to repeated and continuous calls for help.

"As a result of these actions by the correctional officers Mr. Hansen suffered personal harm of a psychological and emotional nature," it claims.

The lawsuit asks for general and punitive damages for the several injuries he sustained, including post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks and depression.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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