Alberni RCMP cleared in 2016 in-custody death of teen

Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George, 18, had been in jail for nearly 24 hours

The Independent Investigations Office has cleared Port Alberni RCMP of any involvement in the June 2016 death of an 18-year-old Port Alberni woman who had spent time in the Port Alberni detachment’s jail cells the day before and morning of her death.

Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George, 18, the mother of two toddlers, died of heart failure in hospital at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital the night of June 24, 2016, following incarceration in Port Alberni.

George had been picked up on June 23 at 7 a.m. for being intoxicated in a public place, then released at 4:23 p.m. At 6 p.m. the same day, the police received a call from a relative of George’s who said she “was shaking and had blue lips, as if she were cold,” according to the IIO report. The relative attributed part of George’s behaviour, which included hallucinating, to drug use, although George wouldn’t say what she had ingested. After the police arrived, one of two officers called paramedics to assess George before they brought her back to the detachment’s jail cells.

Following a wellness check, paramedics released her into police custody after determining she had no obvious trauma or distress, good blood pressure and a strong pulse. She was brought to cells shortly before shift change at 7 p.m. At that point, one of the officers that had picked George up the second time told the incoming watch commander, only identified in the IIO report as “Officer 1”, that George had not eaten for two days and they should “…push food and fluid.”

The second officer who was with George when she was brought back to cells also passed on a request—this time to a different officer—that George be given food and water outside the normal mealtimes due to her extended period in custody.

The watch commander did not make a personal check on George when he came on shift, only conferring with the jail guards, the IIO noted. As acting watch commander, the officer was required by RCMP policy to “personally check on each person in custody at the beginning and end of his shift.” Intoxicated prisoners are to be “awake or awakened” at least once every four hours, which is the watch commander’s responsibility.

The IIO noted that George was seen on closed circuit video monitors moving around her cell frequently, except for a four-hour sleep between 3:29 a.m. and 7:25 a.m., when the officer who had brought her in the night before came back on shift and checked on her. It was following this visit that paramedics were called to the detachment to check on George, who was then taken to West Coast General Hospital for further checks. Although she was conscious and breathing, she had “little or no blood pressure” and was airlifted to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, where her health further deteriorated despite medical intervention and she died at 7:20 p.m.

Cause of death, according to the IIO report, was drug-induced myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, due to the toxic effects of methamphetamine and cocaine. “(George’s) minimal food and water intake was specifically ruled out as a contributing factor in the death,” the report noted.

Although the officer in charge failed to check in personally on George, nor follow a suggestion that she be fed more frequently, the IIO director noted “there is no evidence to suggest that inaction on his part caused or otherwise contributed to (George’s) medical condition and death.”

The IIO is a civilian-led organization tasked with investigating police-related incidents involving death or serious harm.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni hopes to ‘raise the reds’

Lily Diotte of Swale Rock Cafe is fundraising to replace the theatre’s red curtains

Alberni’s development soccer program doubles in size

Development practice had hardly started, but there were already more than 30… Continue reading

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Alberni university zeroes in on disability and poverty

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS The road to poverty can… Continue reading

Celebrate cycling in Port Alberni during Bike to Work and School Week

Numerous ‘celebration stations’ are planned for May 28 to June 2

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read