The death of a 33-year-old man is being investigated as a death in custody.
The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) said in a press release that the Saskatchewan Forensic Service and the Saskatoon Police Service will lead the investigation, along with two independent observers from the Department of Corrections, Vigilance and Public Safety to oversee.
This is the third death in custody in recent weeks.
“Each is a tragedy for our community and a devastating loss for families who have lost loved ones,” according to the PAPS statement. “As a police service, we recognize that there are many questions and we acknowledge the concerns of community leaders, residents and advocacy groups about security, supervision and surveillance in police cells.”
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The first incident that PAPS investigates is the death of a 29-year-old man. During the early hours of October 5, police were called to Victoria Hospital for a report of disturbances. PAPS said the man suffered medical problems and then died in hospital on October 12.
“While the man was in police custody for a brief period of time, he remained in the hospital,” according to a PAPS statement. “The police are treating this investigation as a death in custody and the province has assigned an independent observer to oversee this investigation.”
The second death involved a 35-year-old man who was arrested on October 8. This case is being investigated by the Saskatchewan RCMP.
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“The man was taken into custody following his arrest and was found unconscious in his cell at the Prince Albert Police Service shortly after 7 pm on October 11,” according to a statement from PAPS. “He was taken to hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.”
PAPS stated that thorough investigation processes into deaths in custody can be lengthy, taking months or even years.
“Our organization recognizes the stress that can result from such investigations and the impact these investigations can have on trust and relationships within the community,” said PAPS.
PAPS stated that while they await the investigation findings, they will review previous forensic investigation recommendations on death in custody investigations.
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