On Sept. 11, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the detention of a 59-year-old man who went into medical distress while in custody at the Ponoka RCMP detachment.

According to ASIRT, “On Sept. 9, Ponoka RCMP were called to assist Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel with an intoxicated, injured 59-year-old man. The man initially refused medical attention, but after some discussion, he was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital, where he was examined by medical professionals who conducted a CT scan and later released him.”

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On Sept. 10, at about 10:53 p.m., RCMP received a disturbance complaint regarding an intoxicated male in the area of 46 Avenue and 55 Street in Ponoka. Upon arriving at the scene, RCMP discovered the same man from the previous day lying on the ground. The man had been drinking and was exhibiting signs of intoxication. He was taken, without incident, into custody for being intoxicated in a public place, and placed in a cell at the Ponoka RCMP detachment.

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The next morning, at about 5:51 a.m., the man fell in his cell. He was checked and was responsive to staff. At about 7 a.m., when the man failed to wake up, staff entered his cell but he remained unresponsive. Staff provided emergency medical care until EMS arrived to take over and transport the man to Red Deer Regional Hospital. Upon examination, it is believed that the man had, at some point, sustained a significant head injury. He was admitted in critical condition. At about 9 p.m., he was pronounced deceased.

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ASIRT’s investigation will focus on the police contact with the man, including during his detention in custody. The RCMP Major Crimes Unit has assumed conduct of the investigation into what may have happened to the man in the days leading to his death, outside of his contact with police.

As ASIRT’s investigation is underway, no further information will be released at this time.

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