ASIRT rules in EPS favour following custody death
34-year-old Jeff Oatway died one day after being tasered while in police custody
Edmonton Police officers did not cause the death of a 34-year-old man who was tasered in April 2012, according to a ruling by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).
ASIRT, which investigates injuries or deaths that may relate to the actions of police officers, has now concluded their investigation into the incident.
"I am satisfied after reading the full investigative report, witness and expert witness statements, and reviewing video surveillance of the majority of the event, that the officers ... were lawfully attempting to restrain a male who was described as possessing super-human strength," said ASIRT Executive Director Clifton Purvis in the release.
"I have determined the officers did not cause the death of this affected person in their attempts to control him and therefore, no charges will flow as a result."
Jeff Oatway was tasered while in police custody at the Detainee Management Unit in EPS headquarters after being arrested for criminal driving offences.
According to ASIRT, the man fought back when police tried to handcuff him before escorting him to his bail hearing. He managed to escape the cell area and ran into a secure vehicle bay where he leapt over a five foot tall barrier into a staff monitoring area.
He then stood on a desk and threw television monitors at officers as they tried to approach him.
The man was eventually controlled and put in handcuffs and ankle constraints and taken to a cell, where he continued to fight against restraints.
One police officer was bit in the struggle.
In an attempt to control the man, an officer shot him with a taser to no effect, according to ASIRT.
The man then went into medical distress while in restraints. Police administered CPR until EMS arrived to transport the man to hospital.
He never regained consciousness and died one day later.
The Medical Examiner’s Office concluded the cause of death to be "Excited Delirium Syndrome associated with presumed illicit drug use," says ASIRT.
- An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect headline stating a "Taser" was connected to the death of the man in custody. The CBC regrets the error.Sep 13, 2013 9:58 AM MT