The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating after a 72-year-old man died at a Sundre hospital this past Friday.
The man went to the Sundre facility at 8:30 a.m., and was seen by medical staff and assessed under the Mental Health Act, according to statement issued by ASIRT on Monday.
Against the directions of medical staff, the man went outside at about 10:30 a.m., ASIRT said, adding an Alberta Health Services peace officer went with him and, as he was exiting the facility, an altercation occurred between the two. The peace officer then called the police.
Just before 11 a.m., a Sundre RCMP officer arrived at the scene. The police officer, peace officer and man spoke outside of the hospital for 20-30 minutes before a “physical altercation” occurred, ASIRT stated.
Following that confrontation, the Sundre man went into medical distress. He died in hospital at about 12:20 p.m.
“The Alberta RCMP believes in processes that seek the facts and it’s important that processes taken to assess the actions of all those involved, including the police, are fair, transparent, and defendable,” the RCMP said in the news release.
“This is why, as soon as we became aware of this incident, we immediately notified the Director of Law Enforcement and initiated our internal review process. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has been directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the actions of the police and Peace Officer during this investigation.”
ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
Independent of ASIRT’s investigation, Alberta RCMP’s internal review process has been implemented to gather a full account of what took place during this incident. RCMP training, policy, police response, and the duty status of the members involved will be subject to review.
“The Alberta RCMP is, of course, fully cooperating with ASIRT and will not be commenting further on this incident,” said police.
As part of its ongoing investigation, ASIRT is continuing efforts to identify people who may have witnessed aspects of the confrontation between the man and police. ASIRT is asking anyone who may have been in the area and may have witnessed these events and/or may have video to contact investigators at 403-592-4306.