Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for December 6, 2013

RCMP ‘seem to be the untouchables,’ relative says

The family member of a man who died in custody after a fight with police is in shock following the summary dismissal of a lawsuit against RCMP officers.

By Christopher Reynolds on December 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm

The family member of a man who died in custody after a fight with police is in shock following the summary dismissal of a lawsuit against RCMP officers.

Ali Carlick said news of a recent Yukon Supreme Court decision to toss out a claim regarding the death of her son-in-law, Grant McLeod, at the Chilkoot Inn in 2008 disheartened her entire family. It also cemented her skepticism toward the justice system.

“It was pretty devastating,” Carlick said. “For everybody .... And there’s nowhere for the public to turn to.

“(The RCMP) seem to be the untouchables.”

Carlick grew up in Atlin, B.C., raised three daughters there and worked for 20 years in support of First Nations land claims.

Her granddaughter, Elycia Carlick, brought the suit against RCMP officers and the federal government in March 2012.

She alleged “misfeasance” by the RCMP and sought damages including psychological injury, expenses for psychological treatment and the lost “companionship and affection of her father, (McLeod).”

Ali Carlick said she now holds a stronger suspicion of law enforcement, particularly in larger communities like Whitehorse.

“That’s why I prefer to live in a small community, because there, at least, for living in Atlin, we get to know the RCMP even on a personal level, and we feel safe,” she said.

“When they move away, we actually miss them when they go.”

Carlick described McLeod, also from Atlin, as a relaxed man and decent father, though not one without problems.

“He was a very easy-going person, very soft-spoken,” she said. “If he had any problems or issues, you know, he should have been helped.

“Everybody deserves a second chance, no matter what they did, no matter what they are.

“If they’re drug addicts, if they’re abusers of any kind, they deserve a second chance.”

Around 7 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2008, Whitehorse RCMP received an emergency call from a front desk clerk at the Chilkoot Inn.

The clerk requested help, as “she was afraid of a large man in the lobby staggering around who appeared to have a needle in his hand,”
according to the court decision by Justice Ron Veale.

RCMP officers Jason MacDonald and Terra Taylor arrived and saw McLeod, “approximately six-foot-two or six-foot-three, who was dishevelled, rubbing his hair, bobbing his head, wearing only one shoe and bleeding from his bare foot.”

McLeod seemed in pain, and appeared to look “right through” the officers and utter “the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” the officers said.

He did not respond to their request to talk and went to the second floor of the hotel.

The officers tried to handcuff him there but McLeod resisted.

“As Taylor attempted to control McLeod, he repeatedly tried to throw her from her position on top of him. Taylor’s body was thrown into the wall and her head struck the floor a number of times,” Veale wrote.

“At one point, Taylor’s head became wedged between McLeod and the door jamb of one of the hotel room doors. She felt extreme pressure against her head and feared McLeod might break her neck.”

She tried to apply “a vascular neck restraint,” putting pressure on McLeod’s carotid artery.

She was unsuccessful in subduing him.

Officers finally held him down with the help of a hotel guest and two other Mounties who arrived after a distress call from MacDonald.

“After he was taken into custody, the intention was to take Mr. McLeod to the hospital for medical assistance. He was breathing and had a pulse,” Veale wrote.

After a search, however, the officers became concerned that “McLeod now needed immediate medical attention.”

Paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after, detected only a weak pulse and began artificial respiration.

McLeod was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital, where resuscitation efforts continued.

He was pronounced dead at 8:06 a.m.

An inquest by the Yukon coroner’s office followed the incident.

A toxicology report showed “elevated and lethal levels of cocaine” and an autopsy concluded that “the principal cause of death was cocaine intoxication.”

The judge ruled the officers had reasonable grounds for taking McLeod into custody under the Mental Health Act and that the force used was “reasonable and appropriate.”

Veale cited a doctor who stated the officers should have realized they were dealing with a person under the influence of cocaine and that “attempting the carotid sleeper hold in a situation of excited delirium is discredited because of its unpredictable outcome.”

However, that does not amount to a “misfeasance in public office,” Veale said.

A claim of negligence or wrongful death against the RCMP was dismissed in December 2012.

Elycia Carlick, who represented herself and filed the claim — dismissed last month — could not be reached for comment.

A Crown lawyer on the case said the judgment stood for itself.

CommentsAdd a comment

June Jackson

Dec 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Any time you lose family, for whatever reason, its sad. I am truly sorry for your loss.

I will however, reply to “everyone deserves a second chance no matter what they did or what they are”. Serial killers? Child killers/abusers? Terrorists? I could put them to death myself..I don’t think everyone deserves a ‘second chance’.

As regards this case, I am sorry you lost your dad, but he made his decisions. The RCMP not only tried to avoid a situation where the public might be hurt, but they tried to save Mr.McLeod from himself.  They aren’t Doctors, they are policemen.

Death is the end for all of us, but when you choose a road of drugs and booze, the road is meaner, and shorter.

Joel

Dec 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Based on the accepted story of fact, I don’t know how this could have been treated any differently.

I feel saddened that Mr. McLeod lost a fight with his demons and feel for the family for their loss, but this is not to be blamed on the officers that were doing their jobs.

bobby bitman

Dec 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Toxology showed, “lethal levels of cocaine”, in his blood.  Is there anything more to say so far as a lawsuit goes against the RCMP who did their best to protect the public and take care for him?  He died of a cocaine overdose, a self-administered cocaine overdose.

north of 60

Dec 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Don’t blame the RCMP for what is essentially a family problem. 

Just Say'in

Dec 9, 2013 at 12:46 am

Another sideline in this story is the inability of the female officer to be able to subdue the Perp. In recent years the RCMP have been overrun with political correctness in their hiring practices. It is unfair to have her in a situation like this, and very unfair and dangerous for that matter for her partner who may have to count on her for backup. I think these types of imbalances of strength and ability can lead to escalation in these kinds of situations. Yes they have guns but I don’t think we want them having to resort to that any more often then necessary. This is a job for big strong boys.

Sally Wally

Dec 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

Sorry for your loss, but REALLY!!!! The RCMP was doing their job to protect the public.  High levels of Cocaine in his system - hence self inflicted.  People get mad when the RCMP don’t do their job and still get mad when they do…I believe that not everyone deserves a second chance.  It is sad that he lost his life due to his life choices and the way he chose to live his life, we cannot blame others for bad decisions one makes.  When I drive downtown Whse. I see the same individuals doing the very same thing they were doing over 15 yrs ago, and its a self choice, I get that people have addictions but there are also services that can help them they just don’t utilize it.  Time to buck up and take responsibility and stop playing the victim!!!

Guncache

Dec 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Yes it is sad that a family lost a son, brother, father but no one forced him to snort, inject or whatever they do with these drugs.  I personally have slim to nil sympathy for drug addicts and alcoholics.  They are a drain on society, a drain on resources and medical staff.  Get on with life like millions of others do. 
As for Just Say’in I agree in part with you in regards to political correctness hiring practices.  We have the same problem in our organization where some females do not do the whole job but get paid the same money.  I don’t agree with you about Terra Taylor. She had backup but still had to rely on extra officers and a civilian as the man was super strong due to the drugs. Even the male officers had problems subduing him. I personally know Terra.  If Terra and I were in a fight there would only be one person laying on the floor and that would be me.  She is all woman but she is tough and she can handle herself. She is missed here as she has been transferred out.  If you are reading this Terra, hi.:(CVSA)

Jay Sunchaser

Dec 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

LOL at “Just Sayin” really…...........? WOW - that’s pretty special!

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