Alberni RCMP cleared in 2016 in-custody death of teen

Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George, 18, had been in jail for nearly 24 hours

The Independent Investigations Office has cleared Port Alberni RCMP of any involvement in the June 2016 death of an 18-year-old Port Alberni woman who had spent time in the detachment’s jail cells the day before and morning of her death.

Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George, 18, the mother of two toddlers, died of heart failure in hospital at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital the night of June 24, 2016, following incarceration in Port Alberni.

George had been picked up on June 23 at 7 a.m. for being intoxicated in a public place, then released at 4:23 p.m. At 6 p.m. the same day, the police received a call from a relative of George’s who said she “was shaking and had blue lips, as if she were cold,” according to the IIO report. The relative attributed part of George’s behaviour, which included hallucinating, to drug use, although George wouldn’t say what she had ingested. After the police arrived, one of two officers called paramedics to assess George before they brought her back to the detachment’s jail cells.

Following a wellness check, paramedics released her into police custody after determining she had no obvious trauma or distress, good blood pressure and a strong pulse. She was brought to cells shortly before shift change at 7 p.m. At that point, one of the officers that had picked George up the second time told the incoming watch commander, only identified in the IIO report as ‘Officer 1,’ that George had not eaten for two days and they should “…push food and fluid.”

The second officer who was with George when she was brought back to cells also passed on a request – this time to a different officer – that George be given food and water outside the normal meal times due to her extended period in custody.

The watch commander did not make a personal check on George when he came on shift, only conferring with the jail guards, the IIO noted. As acting watch commander, the officer was required by RCMP policy to “personally check on each person in custody at the beginning and end of his shift.” Intoxicated prisoners are to be “awake or awakened” at least once every four hours, which is the watch commander’s responsibility.

The IIO noted that George was seen on closed circuit video monitors moving around her cell frequently, except for a four-hour sleep between 3:29 a.m. and 7:25 a.m., when the officer who had brought her in the night before came back on shift and checked on her. It was following this visit that paramedics were called to the detachment to check on George, who was then taken to West Coast General Hospital for further checks. Although she was conscious and breathing, she had “little or no blood pressure” and was airlifted to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, where her health further deteriorated despite medical intervention and she died at 7:20 p.m.

Cause of death, according to the IIO report, was drug-induced myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, due to the toxic effects of methamphetamine and cocaine. “[George’s] minimal food and water intake was specifically ruled out as a contributing factor in the death,” the report noted.

Although the officer in charge failed to check in personally on George, nor follow a suggestion that she be fed more frequently, the IIO director noted “there is no evidence to suggest that inaction on his part caused or otherwise contributed to [George’s] medical condition and death.”

The IIO is a civilian-led organization tasked with investigating police-related incidents involving death or serious harm.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Swain will move over to mayor’s chair in Lantzville

Mark Swain and councillors Jamie Wilson, Karen Proctor, Ian Savage and Will Geselbracht elected

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

WEB POLL: How do you feel about the new city council Nanaimo has elected?

City of Nanaimo votes in its next municipal government

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

When to vote, where to vote, how to vote

Voting day is Oct. 20, with polls open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Most Read