Chair-Initiated Public Complaint: In-Custody Death of Ms. Cheryl Anne Bouey, Prince George, B.C., June 26, 2008

June 27, 2008

File: PC 2008-1680

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As Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those unidentified RCMP members involved in the arrest, and subsequent detention in RCMP cells of Cheryl Anne Bouey at Prince George, British Columbia on June 26, 2008.

The facts as presently known indicate that on June 26, 2008, RCMP members arrested Ms. Bouey for being intoxicated in a public place and subsequently lodged her in Prince George RCMP Detachment cells. Sometime later, the guard found her in her cell unresponsive. Subsequent attempts to revive her were not successful.

I am initiating this complaint with the full appreciation that the RCMP has deployed its "E" Division North-District Major Crime Unit to investigate this incident and that the RCMP will be ordering an Independent Officer Review. It is not my intention to prejudice the RCMP investigations. However, I will be closely monitoring RCMP progress as it relates to the investigations underway so that I can ensure, at their completion, a timely response to this complaint.

Given the on-going expressions of public concern as they relate to the detention, monitoring and treatment of prisoners in RCMP custody, the magnitude of the responsibility assumed by the RCMP in relation to persons held in its custody and my previous recommendations to the RCMP on such matters, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate the conduct of all members involved in this incident.

Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the 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:

  1. whether the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in the events of June 26, 2008, from the moment of initial contact and arrest, through to the subsequent detention and death of Cheryl Anne Bouey, complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements relating to persons held in RCMP custody;
  2. whether the RCMP members at the Prince George 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 Prince George RCMP during the period of Ms. Bouey's detention and subsequent death; and
  3. whether the RCMP national, divisional and detachment-level policies, procedures and guidelines relating to the monitoring and treatment of persons detained in RCMP custody are adequate to ensure the proper care and safety thereof.
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