Alberta police watchdog probing death of man found unresponsive in Edmonton holding cell

Alberta Serious Incident Response Team. File/Global News

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the death of a young man found unresponsive in a police holding cell in Edmonton.

The man was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, according to police. They said he was brought to hospital after being found unresponsive in his cell during a routine cell check at about 7:40 a.m.

“The paramedic on duty, along with other staff, administered first aid until EMS arrived,” police said in a news release Friday night. “EMS treated and transported the male to hospital.”

Police did not say what building the holding cell was in.

According to the police, the events leading up to the man’s arrest unfolded on Thursday morning.

“At approximately 11:30 a.m., police responded to a disturbance at a home in the area of 45 Street and 22 Avenue,” they said. “It was reported a 23-year-old male who did not reside at the home, but was known to the residents, was intoxicated and acting aggressively.

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“When officers attended they removed the 23-year-old male from the home, but did not lay charges.”

According to police, officers were called to respond again by the same residents at about 4:25 p.m. that day, who told them the man had come back and “entered the home without permission.”

When officers returned, police said they took the man into custody for allegedly uttering threats and being in a house unlawfully. They did not say if charges were laid or were pending.

On Dec. 5, ASIRT issued an update on its investigation and said the man was taken into custody at about 6 p.m. The watchdog said the man was taken to the EPS Detainee Management Unit, where he was put in one or more cells.

ASIRT said an autopsy was performed on Dec. 4 but that the results, including toxicology, “will take time.”

“As such, the cause of death remains undetermined,” ASIRT said in a news release. “The man had no observable traumatic injuries other than minor bruising believed to be consistent with medical intervention upon the man having been found in medical distress.”

The name of the man who died has not been released.

ASIRT is called upon to investigate incidents involving Alberta law enforcement agencies that result in serious injury or death, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.


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