Police supervisory authority is investigating an injured person in a mental emergency

Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team has been called to investigate police conduct on February 8 at a Waterville-area health facility.  (Submitted by SIRT - photo credit)

Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team has been called to investigate police conduct on February 8 at a Waterville-area health facility. (Submitted by SIRT – photo credit)

RCMP has asked a police regulator to investigate officers’ behavior after a person in mental distress was injured and taken into custody.

In a press release, the RCMP said they asked the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team to investigate what happened on the morning of February 8th.

The release said officers responded to a report of “a person in mental distress” at a “Waterville-area health care facility.” The release does not identify the facility or the gender and age of the individual.

There are no clinics in the area, which is about 100 kilometers southwest of Fredericton near the Maine border. The only hospital in the area is Upper River Valley Hospital, operated by Horizon Health Network. The network has not yet responded to CBC’s request for information.

The RCMP release said when officers arrived, the person “became aggressive towards police and an altercation ensued.”

The person then “attempted to flee from the police and injured himself in the process,” according to the press release. It said the person was treated for the injuries and then taken into custody.

The release did not say what type of injuries the person sustained, how serious they were and why the person was taken into custody.

“The RCMP is committed to accountability and transparency to the communities we serve,” Cpl. Hans Ouellette is quoted in the press release.

“Due to the seriousness of this incident, we have asked SIRT to review our actions to ensure we have done all we could in our response.”

RCMP did not immediately respond to CBC’s request for additional information.

Five pending cases

This is the second case referred to SIRT this year and the fifth pending case since July 2022.

New Brunswick does not have its own independent regulatory agency to review police actions. The provincial government recently entered into an official agreement with Nova Scotia to expand its major incident response team to New Brunswick with its own investigators and resources.

SIRT typically investigates police behavior in incidents involving deaths, serious injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence and “other matters of significant public interest”.

Those five pending cases include one in which a man died after being arrested. A further investigation was launched after a person in mental distress and an officer were injured in an altercation.

One involves an officer who was injured while holding a man detained under the Intoxicated Person Detention Act, while in another case investigators are investigating what happened after a man was found dead when police issued a search warrant executed.


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