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Nanaimo RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man seriously injured in holding cell

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British Columbia's police oversight agency has cleared the Nanaimo RCMP of any wrongdoing after a man collapsed in a police holding cell and sustained a serious injury late least year.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. says the man suffered a medical event while in custody and no force was used against him from the time of his arrest until he was taken to hospital by paramedics.

The unidentified man was arrested at a Nanaimo business on Dec. 8, 2023, and taken to the local RCMP detachment's holding cells.

Following the arrest, a spokesperson for the B.C. RCMP said the man was arrested on outstanding warrants and was to be held in custody for five days.

Two days after his arrest, he collapsed in his cell, according to police and the oversight agency.

In a statement Wednesday, the IIO said it had concluded its investigation into the incident after reviewing video from the arrest scene and "the entirety of the man's time in cells."

The man was the only occupant of his cell for the duration of his custody, and "there was no prior indication of the medical event leading to his injury before it occurred," the IIO said in the statement.

Aside from the video evidence, the IIO's chief civilian director also reviewed medical records and evidence from police before determining there was no connection between either police actions or inactions and the man's injury.

"There is no evidence to support that force was used by police, or any other action that could have contributed to the man’s condition," the statement said. "The IIO investigation is now concluded."

The IIO is an independent police watchdog that investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death in B.C., whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

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