Police watchdog will investigate death in Transit Police custody
A member of the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority Police Service watches a SkyTrain leave the station in Vancouver, Monday, Dec. 5, 2005. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam)
Published Friday, August 1, 2014 10:03AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, August 1, 2014 8:21PM PDT
B.C.’s police watchdog has decided to take on the case of a man who died in Transit Police custody early Friday morning after all.
The Independent Investigations Office, which initially declined to claim jurisdiction over the case, reversed that decision Friday afternoon.
IIO Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal reviewed the information Transit Police had provided on the incident and decided an investigation was needed to determine whether there is “a potential nexus” between the death and the actions of any officer.
A 41-year-old Surrey man was arrested under the Mental Health Act at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday for “irrational behaviour” on a bus at the Surrey Central bus loop, according to Transit Police.
They said he was compliant during the arrest and was transported to hospital by officers. When they arrived at the hospital, officers saw that the man had gone into “medical distress,” according to a police release.
The man received immediate medical assistance, but was pronounced dead 39 minutes after midnight.
After the IIO initially said the case didn’t fit its mandate, transit police requested that the RCMP investigate the man’s death. Now that the IIO will investigate, the two officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
The IIO is tasked with investigating police conduct cases involving death or serious injury.