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ASIRT probes death of man in Fort Macleod less than 14 hours after being released from custody

Alberta Serious Incident Response Team. File/Global News

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating after a 72-year-old man died less than 14 hours after being released from police custody in Fort Macleod, Alta.

According to RCMP, officers were called to attend to an unconscious man on a sidewalk in front of the Fort Macleod Public Library at 8:18 p.m. on Sunday night. He was then taken to hospital by ambulance.

“The male was examined (and) noted to be intoxicated but medically cleared at hospital and released two hours later into the custody of the RCMP without incident,” police said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

RCMP said they were unable to find anyone able to care for the man and kept him in a cell at the detachment until “he was believed to have recovered sufficient capacity that he could be safely released.”

READ MORE: ASIRT investigating after man found in medical distress in Ponoka RCMP holding cell dies 

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, police said the man was released from the cell and, at his request, officers took him to a nearby home where they left him with another person.

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“At approximately 9:53 p.m., Fort Macleod RCMP responded to the same residence on a call of a deceased male,” police said. “The 72-year-old male was located deceased inside the residence.

“(ASIRT) has been directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man’s detention in custody including any potential nexus between the detention and the man’s death.”

Police did not release the name of the man who died.

On Friday, ASIRT issued a news release that provided more details about the investigation. The police watchdog said that while he was at hospital, the man who later died told staff there that he was diabetic and suffering from pneumonia. ASIRT also confirmed he was medically cleared to leave the hospital soon after.

ASIRT added that the residence where police later dropped the man off at was where a relative of his lives.

Anyone who was outside the Fort MacLeod Public Library on Oct. 4 between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. is asked to phone ASIRT at 403-592-4306.

ASIRT is an entity tasked with investigating incidents involving law enforcement officers in Alberta that have resulted in serious injury or death, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.