An Alberta judge is recommending a holding-cell video which records the death of a man from alcohol poisoning be used to train RCMP recruits.
The training video would help officers decide when an intoxicated prisoner needs medical help, wrote provincial court Judge William Andreassen in his fatality inquiry report Monday.
'Mr. Omeasoo’s widow advised she would not object to the video being used as a training aid'—Judge William Andreassen
Sylvester Omeasoo, 47, died in an RCMP holding cell three years ago after he was arrested by police for public drunkenness.
On Oct. 6, 2008, Omeasoo was found passing out while sitting on a raised flower bed near a liquor store in the central Alberta town of Wetaskiwin.
He was dragged to the holding cell where he died a little more than one hour later.
An autopsy showed Omeasoo's blood alcohol level to be between 520 and 580 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood — about seven times the legal limit to drive.
Officers thought symptoms faked
While officers acknowledged Omeasoo was extremely drunk, they suspected he may have been faking intoxication to resist cooperating with police, the fatality inquiry heard.
Police checked Omeasoo over the hour by watching surveillance video and actually looking into the cell.
When he stopped breathing, officers began CPR, but Omeasoo never regained consciousness.
Andreassen watched the entire surveillance video uninterrupted, while replaying certain sections and decided it had value as a training tool.
"At the conclusion of the Inquiry, Mr. Omeasoo’s widow advised she would not object to the video being used as a training aid," he said.
"I assume all faces would be blurred and any other privacy concerns would be reviewed by the RCMP."
Andreassen also recommended RCMP review whether guards should physically look into cells more often rather than relying on cameras.
He also suggested detachments consider installing an emergency button which would enable a prisoner to alert guards about a situation in the cell.
"I realize such systems could be open to abuse by attention seeking prisoners, but its viability should be considered and assessed," wrote Andreassen.