Update 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31:
Posts on social media have identified the man who died following an Oct. 28 police stop in Malakwa as Clayton Donnelly of Kelowna. A woman named Kelly Harrison who identified herself as the deceased man’s step mother took to Facebook to lament the negative comments about Donnelly posted online and the lack of support available to adults suffering from mental illness.
Harrison’s post also asks anyone who witnessed anything that might help the Independent Investigations Office unravel the events of Oct. 28 to get in contact with them.
“Whatever the truth is it is, we just want to know,” the post concludes.
An autopsy will be conducted to try and determine what caused the death of a 38-year-old man after he was taken into police custody in Malakwa early in the morning Oct. 28.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), a civilian agency that investigates all police-officer related incidents that result in death or serious harm, is looking into the events which led up to the man’s death but answers may not be coming any time soon.
The IIO would not release the man’s name citing privacy legislation.
Ronald J. MacDonald, the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO said that while an autopsy will be completed soon, some of the related tests conducted by the forensic pathologist could take months.
He said the IIO is in the process of gathering evidence from the police vehicles involved, including GPS data and recordings of radio transmissions as well as video footage. He said the investigation is still in an early stage.
A stun gun was used during the apprehension of the man who died. MacDonald said the it has not yet been determined what role the stun gun’s use played in the man’s death if any.
MacDonald said the man was apprehended near the intersection of Oxbow Frontage Road and Sederberg Road and the events which occurred in that area are the main focus of the IIO’s investigation.
The RCMP reported that the events at Sederberg Road and the Oxbow Frontage Road followed a pursuit which began over 100 highway kilometres to the South in Lake Country. Police say after the reports of an erratic driver on Highway 97 in Lake Country were received at approximately 1:30 a.m. — shortly thereafter the Armstrong RCMP unsuccessfully attempted to stop the suspect vehicle. RCMP officers stopped the vehicle south of Sicamous, but after briefly stopping, the vehicle fled again.
Once the vehicle was stopped in Malakwa at approximately 3:20 a.m., the driver allegedly resisted arrest. A stun gun was used and the man was handcuffed; he entered medical distress and was taken to hospital where he died on the evening of Oct. 29.
Along with the IIO, the BC Coroners Service is also investigating
The IIO request for any witnesses who may have seen the event still stands. The IIO’s witness line is 1-855-446-8477.