Calgary, AB,

ASIRT investigating in-custody death

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been directed to investigate a death that occurred inside a cell at Spyhill Services Centre.

On Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, police were called to the Marlborough CTrain Station, located at 8 Avenue and 36 Street N.E., for reports of a man in possession of an airsoft gun. When officers arrived, the man was cooperative and police took him into custody. The arrest, as captured on body-worn camera, occurred without incident. He was charged with breach-related offences and transported to Spyhill Services Centre, where he was cleared by a medic and placed in a holding cell.

At 8 p.m., during a routine check of the cells, the man was eating his meal, however at the next check, the man was found unresponsive in his cell. Despite significant lifesaving efforts, the man was pronounced dead at approximately 8:40 p.m.

As is standard practice with a death in custody, the Director of Law Enforcement was notified and has directed ASIRT to investigate.

The Service has extensive systems and protocols already in place to ensure the care of arrestees, including medical clearance checks for every arrestee prior to being admitted into a cell, searches of individuals before being taken into custody, CCTV systems to monitor people in custody and regular cell checks.

We have recently undergone significant work to ensure that our standards are in line with current best practices for in-custody care. However out of an abundance of caution, we will be reviewing this incident to inform our procedures.

As this is now an active ASIRT investigation, no further details will be released.