Officers at the High Prairie RCMP detachment failed a man with diabetes in their custody, but they aren’t criminally liable. That’s the conclusion of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which released its report on the man’s hospitalization in August 2018 Tuesday.
It was alleged that the mounties failed to provide the necessaries of life to the 38-year-old man while he was under their care from August 3rd to 6th that year. He had been taken into custody around 11:15 p.m. on the 3rd while intoxicated and walking on the highway with outstanding warrants and conditions that included a curfew of 11 p.m.
It’s reported the man first told officers he was diabetic and asked for a meal on their way to the detachment, and the information was also included on forms during his screening process. However, he never received any medication during his time in the cells, which is attributed partly to a lack of communication between officers on different shifts, confusion about detachment policy, and, notably, not enough meaningful checks during day shifts.
When it was noticed he was shaky and feeling unwell the night of August 6th, he was taken to hospital with high blood sugar and diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, which is considered a life-threatening complication of diabetes caused by not receiving insulin, in this situation. He remained in hospital until the next day and was later transferred to the Peace River Correctional Centre.
In his report, ASIRT Assistant Executive Director Matthew Block concluded that the man was failed by the High Prairie RCMP Detachment. While he says the issues found are below the level of criminal liability, they should be addressed by the RCMP.
“The [affected person] entered police custody on August 3 with a common medical condition that should have been easily addressed by the officers who dealt with him. Instead, due to the relative inaction of the subject officers, other officers, and the [affected person], he did not receive his required medication for almost three days.”
Block calls it a failure of the detachment as a whole but says that based on the conduct of each individual officer there are no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed.