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Investigation prevents police from giving more info about man’s death, chief says

The Board of Police Commissioners met in person on Oct. 19, where they heard from Police Chief Rick Bourassa about the death of a man in police cells.

Police Chief Rick Bourassa won’t say anything else about the alleged circumstances of how a man died in police cells because the investigation is still ongoing.

“I know there is always a desire for people to know information immediately — I understand that. They want the information quite quickly,” Bourassa said during the Oct. 19 Board of Police Commissioners meeting. “What I can say is that it would be very irresponsible at this time for us to discuss any of those things that are in the hands of other bodies.

“The information will become public through the proper processes with those bodies … . I can’t give you a timeline on that; I just don’t know. Sometimes it can take some time.”

According to previous information, the incident occurred at 8:55 a.m. on Oct. 7, where a 40-year-old man died suddenly in police holding cells even though officers had spoken with him a few minutes before. 

Officers initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while emergency medical services personnel continued resuscitation efforts when they arrived. However, they could not revive the man and they pronounced him deceased.

Based on provisions in The Police Act, the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) asked the Regina Police Service to investigate the death, while it also asked the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety to appoint an investigation observer, Bourassa said. The MJPS also contacted the Saskatchewan Coroners Service and the Public Complaints Commission. 

Meanwhile, the MJPS says it will continue to co-operate with the independent investigation and all oversight bodies involved in the matter.

After Bourassa gave his report, the board voted unanimously to receive and file it. 

The next Board of Police Commissioners’ meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 9.