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Edmonton police not responsible for in-custody death

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has concluded its investigation into the April 2012 death of a man, who was in the custody of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).

On the afternoon of April 11, 2012, a 34-year old male who was arrested earlier in the day for criminal driving offences was in police custody at the Detainee Management Unit located within EPS Headquarters. Late in the afternoon, he was required to attend a bail hearing but refused to comply with demands that he place his hands behind his back to be handcuffed for transport to the hearing. Assistance arrived to help with handcuffing the man, but he pushed away and ran from staff. He escaped the cell area and ran into a secure vehicle bay. Two police officers came to assist in attempting to restrain the man but he managed to leap over a five foot barrier, into the staff monitoring area. The man stood on a desk and threw TV monitors at officers as they approached him. He was pulled to the floor, where additional officers tried to control him and eventually they were able to apply handcuffs and ankle restraints. He was taken to a cell, continuing to struggle while officers attempted to put the handcuffs on behind his back. One officer was bitten by the male during this process. In an additional attempt to control the male, an officer deployed a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW), which had no effect and he continued to struggle. While he was restrained, he went into medical distress and EPS officers began CPR until EMS arrived. Paramedics took over care for the male and transported him immediately to hospital. He never regained consciousness and passed away on April 13, 2012. The Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and determined the cause of death was Excited Delirium Syndrome associated with presumed illicit drug use.

ASIRT conducted an independent, objective and thorough investigation into the actions of the EPS officers while the man was in their custody.

“I am satisfied after reading the full investigative report, witness and expert witness statements, and reviewing video surveillance of the majority of the event, that the officers involved were lawfully placed, These officers were lawfully attempting to restrain a male who was described as possessing super-human strength. I have determined the officers did not cause the death of this affected person in their attempts to control him and therefore, no charges will flow as a result. On behalf of ASIRT, I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of the affected person.”

- Clifton Purvis, Executive Director, ASIRT

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