Chair-Initiated Complaint: In-Custody Death of Charlene Danais in Assumption, Alberta, on August 7, 2011
August 11, 2011
As Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those RCMP members present at and/or involved in the arrest and subsequent detention of Charlene Danais in Assumption, Alberta, up until the time of her death, and the adequacy of the actions taken by the RCMP in response to the incident.
The facts as presently known indicate that in the early evening of August 6, 2011, 28-year-old Ms. Danais was taken into custody by RCMP members and placed in cells at the Assumption RCMP Detachment. She was found unresponsive in her cell early the next morning and pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital in High Level, Alberta. An autopsy could not determine cause of death, pending toxicology results. The RCMP's Peace River Major Crimes Unit is investigating.
In the circumstances, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for me to initiate my own complaint examining RCMP member conduct in light of relevant training, policy, procedures, guidelines and legislation, as well as the adequacy thereof. The Commission's mandate is remedial in nature, and aims to identify any improvements which could be made, if appropriate.
Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act), I am today initiating a complaint into the conduct of all RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in this incident, as well as matters of general practice applicable to situations in which persons are held in the custody of the RCMP, specifically:
- whether the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in the events of August 6 and 7, 2011, from the moment of initial contact and arrest, through to the subsequent detention and death of Ms. Danais complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements relating to persons held in RCMP custody;
- whether the RCMP members at the Assumption RCMP Detachment provided adequate supervision and direction to the guard or guards who were charged with the care and handling of prisoners in the custody of the Assumption RCMP during the period of Ms. Danais' detention and subsequent death;
- whether the RCMP national, divisional and detachment-level policies, procedures and guidelines relating to persons detained in RCMP custody are adequate to ensure the proper care and safety thereof; and
- whether the actions taken by the RCMP in response to the incident were taken in accordance with all applicable policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements for the conduct of such an investigation and whether such policies, procedures and guidelines are adequate.
- Date modified: