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Family of Prince Albert inmate who died in police custody speaks out

The mother of an inmate who died in custody of Prince Albert Police Service in November 2021 speaks out of how her son's death could have been prevented.
The mother of an inmate who died in custody of Prince Albert Police Service in November 2021 speaks out of how her son's death could have been prevented. Photo submitted: Mari Bloomfield

Saul Laliberte from Cumberland House, Sask., was someone who was very family-oriented. He had a loving and caring heart and would always help out others in so many ways, according to family.

“He was kind and loving. He loved his family very much,” said his mother, Amelia Bloomfield.

“He was a hard worker (and) he took good care of us. He made sure his family came first.”

This is how his mother will remember him. He was taken too soon from her and her family. It’s a pain that they have to live with everyday.

“I miss my son so much,” said Bloomfield. “I don’t sleep at night. So much goes through my mind.”

Read more: 3 recent in-custody deaths being investigated: Prince Albert police

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Laliberte, 33, died while in custody of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) on Nov. 10, 2021 and his death is being treated as an in-custody death. His death is being investigated by Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).

Police could not determine the cause of his death but Bloomfield said to Global Regina that her son died of an overdose of prescribed medication.

“It turns out at least most of this medication (was) in his system,” she said. “That’s the toxicology report (shown). It was a lethal amount of medication in his system.”

Bloomfield said her son called her prior to turning himself in to police as he had outstanding warrants. He informed her that he was going to consume medication and it worried her. She tried reaching out to him only to find out that he turned himself into the police.

Bloomfield called the PAPS holding cells at 5:20 p.m. that day to inform police that her son had consumed medication and she requested for a wellness check. She was told that her son was fine. PAPS could not comment if a wellness check was conducted. Laliberte was found dead in his cell at 7:29 p.m.

“Why didn’t they listen to me? I tried to reach out to them when they’re supposed to protect us,” said Bloomfield.

“If they (had) listened to me, my son would be alive today.”

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Read more: Prince Albert Grand Council wants answers into two recent in-custody deaths

Global Regina reached out to PAPS to comment on the claims. But due to the case still being investigated by an outside police source, PAPS stated as they await the findings of each investigation involving recent in-custody deaths in their detention facility, they are reviewing recommendations from previous coroner’s inquests following in-custody death investigations.

“Our organization continues to work to ensure an enhanced response to those in medical stress, and has updated video and audio coverage in the detention area, improved training for guards and matrons, and increased supervision and overall oversight of the detention area in recent years,” stated PAPS.

The SPS provided an email statement regarding Laliberte’s death stating with the investigation ongoing and not yet complete, they are unable to comment on specific circumstances.

“Saul Laliberte came into contact with, and was arrested by the Prince Albert Police Service, on the strength of several Saskatoon Police Service warrants,” SPS stated.

“Due to the fact his death occurred in police custody, there will be an inquiry into the incident, as is mandatory in this province.”

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A national inmate advocate and founder of Beyond Prison Walls Canada receives an outstanding number of requests to look into neglected medical attention from inmates. When she heard of Laliberte’s case, she was appalled.

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“Considering that (PAPS) had two previous deaths in their custody just prior to (Laliberte’s), you’d think that they would not want to make those same mistakes again and be proactive to do something,” said Sherri Maier.

“They failed to do it. That right there screams negligence in my opinion.”

Bloomfield is considering taking legal action against PAPS.

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