Chair-Initiated Complaint & Public Interest Investigation: In-Custody Deaths Proximal to CEW Use

January 15, 2009

File No.: 2009-0055

As Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission), I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those unidentified RCMP members present at, or engaged in, incidents where individuals in the custody of the RCMP died following the use of a conducted energy weapon (CEW), which incidents have taken place anywhere in Canada between January 1, 2001 and January 1, 2009.

The facts as are currently known indicate that since the commencement of the use of the CEW by the RCMP in 2001, a number of individuals have died while in the custody of the RCMP following utilization of a CEW.

Given the ongoing expressions of concern of the public and the Commission as they relate to deaths of individuals while in the custody of the RCMP as well as with respect to the degree and type of force required by police officers when effecting an arrest and, as in these cases, the specific concerns raised in respect of the use of a CEW, including related training, policy, procedures and guidelines for deployment thereof, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate the conduct of all RCMP members involved in these incidents.

Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the RCMP Act, I am today initiating a complaint into the conduct of all RCMP members involved in these incidents, specifically:

  1. whether the RCMP officers involved in the aforementioned events, from the moment of initial contact with the individual until the time of each individual's death, complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements relating to the use of force; and
  2. whether existing RCMP policies, procedures and guidelines applicable to such incidents are adequate.

Furthermore, I am instituting a public interest investigation into this complaint, pursuant to subsection 45.43(1) of the RCMP Act.

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