Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
Surrey, B.C. – The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC has concluded an investigation into an incident in Victoria.
On November 20, 2020 at approximately 1:45 a.m., police responded to a report of a man alleged to be causing a disturbance in the 600-block of Douglas Street. The man was arrested and assessed by Emergency Health Services (EHS) who medically cleared him. He was then transported to Victoria Police Department cells.
About two hours later, officers observed that the man appeared to be unwell and had fallen off his bed. Police responded promptly and called EHS once more. EHS transported the man to a local area hospital where he was found to be suffering from several serious pre-existing medical conditions. He did not sustain any injury in the fall from the bed.
The man later died in hospital on November 21, 2020 as a result of his long-term health conditions.
Video evidence and an independent witness confirm that at no point during his arrest or while in custody did police use any force against the man. In addition, he did not mention any prior medical conditions or mention feeling ill to paramedics during either assessment.
The IIO’s Chief Civilian Director has reviewed the evidence – including video sources, medical information, and a statement from an independent civilian witness – and determined that there are no reasonable grounds to consider that the actions or inactions of any officer played a role in the man’s death. The speed of officers’ response to the man’s apparent distress and decision to call EHS immediately were appropriate and commendable under the circumstances, although it is unfortunate that those timely actions were unable to prevent the man’s death.
The investigation is therefore concluded.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.