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Coquitlam cops cleared in man's death while in custody: watchdog

An investigation update says the man, arrested in January, moved on his own in a jail cell and no force of any kind was used prior to his unexpected death.
Jail cell bars - 4x6 Getty Images
Police actions did not lead to a man's death while in Coquitlam RCMP custody on Jan. 18, 2022, a new report states.

Coroners are still investigating the cause of a man's unexpected death in a Coquitlam jail cell back in January.

However, local Mounties were cleared today (July 8) by B.C.'s police watchdog of any wrongdoing from the incident.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) explains the suspect's death the morning of Jan. 18 was not related to RCMP actions, directly or indirectly, and that he appeared to be fine while waiting in his cell.

"Video footage shows that the man was moving independently, no force was used against him, and he displayed no signs of being unwell while in the detachment," the IIO's chief civilian director adds.

"Detachment video confirms that jail guards checked on the man regularly during his time in cells."

Around 8:35 a.m. that day, investigators say police also used life-saving measures to try and resuscitate the man after he was found unresponsive during a routine check.

This was 24 hours after he was arrested for disturbance reports from a Burquitlam residential building in the 600-block of Thompson Avenue — at about 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 17.

He was taken into custody without incident and brought to the Coquitlam RCMP detachment.

He was also scheduled to appear in court the next morning.

The IIO explains it reviewed multiple pieces of evidence, including medical records, witness statements, video footage and other information in leading to its decision today.

The BC Coroners Service is still looking to determine the circumstances of the man's death.

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