Death of male in Grande Prairie RCMP custody under investigation

February 9, 2021
Grande Prairie, Alberta

News release

On Feb. 7, 2021, at 1:54 p.m., Grande Prairie RCMP responded to a 911 call to assist Emergency Medical Services with a male who was requiring EMS assistance.

Grande Prairie RCMP attended the location and located a 26-year-old male who was extremely erratic and noted to be high. The male was refusing medical transport, also refused the RCMP's offer to be taken to an alternate location for shelter, and alleged to have been interfering with the lawful enjoyment and use of the property. The male was arrested for mischief and taken into police custody and transported to Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment cells where he was to remain until he was to recover sufficient capacity that he could be safely released.

Throughout the male's stay in cells, regular wellness checks were conducted. On Feb. 8, 2021, at 7:45 a.m., an RCMP officer was conducting a wellness check of prisoners in the cell block and observed that the male was unresponsive. Emergency medical services were called and attended; however, the male was pronounced deceased at 7:53 a.m.

The RCMP believes in processes that seek the facts and it's important that processes taken to assess the actions of all those involved, including the police, are fair, transparent, and defendable. This is why, as soon as we became aware of this incident, we immediately notified the Director of Law Enforcement and initiated our internal review process. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man's death.

The RCMP's internal review process, in conjunction with the ASIRT process, has been implemented to gather a full account of what took place in the cell block. RCMP training, policy, response, and employees' actions will be subject to review.

The RCMP is fully cooperating with ASIRT and will not be commenting further on this incident. All media inquiries about this incident should now be directed to ASIRT at 780-641-9099.

–30–

Contact information

Corporal Deanna Fontaine
Media Relations Officer
Western Alberta District RCMP
780-995-7310

Date modified: