Thunder Bay

No charges to be issued for death of man in Thunder Bay police cell, says SIU report

The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says there are "no reasonable grounds" to lay criminal charges against a Thunder Bay police officer over the death of a 50-year-old man in July 2017.

'Roland' McKay died after going into medical distress in July 2017

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit says there are "no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges" against a Thunder Bay police officer in relation to the death of a 50-year-old man in July 2017. (Thunder Bay Police)

The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says there are "no reasonable grounds" to lay criminal charges against a Thunder Bay police officer over the death of a 50-year-old man in July 2017.

50-year-old Marlon Jerry McKay, known to family and friends as "Roland" of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, died in a Thunder Bay, Ont., police cell after going into medical distress.

Police reported that at approximately 7:51 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 officers responded to call for an intoxicated person. When they tried to drop McKay off at his residence, the occupant would not allow the 50-year-old man into the house because of his state of intoxication, according to the SIU report.

Officers then tried to check McKay into a local detox centre, however there were no bed available.

At around 8:12 p.m. he was transported to the Thunder Bay police station where he was placed in a cell for public intoxication.

During a routine cell check shortly after midnight on July 20, officers said they found McKay not breathing. While performing CPR, police said paramedics arrived and continued life saving measures until he was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Heart disease as cause of death

In a report issued by the SIU, the agency said a toxicology report indicated that McKay had died due to hypertensive heart disease.

The report states that McKay had died "as a result of his lifestyle and possibly other genetic or medical factors which were unknown to police and paramedics."

The agency's director, Tony Loparco, stated in the report that he "cannot find reasonable grounds to believe that the actions of the [officers] ... are capable of satisfying any of the elements required" to pursue a criminal charge.

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