Blue Line

Saint John police say man died in custody after being detained overnight

December 21, 2023  By Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dec. 21, 2023, Saint. John, N.B. – Saint John police said a 48-year-old man who was being detained overnight was found unresponsive in a holding cell and pronounced dead.

According to a press release issued Friday by the Saint John Police Force, officers detained a 48-year-old man around 6 p.m. on Thursday under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act, and held him at the force’s detention facility at its Peel Plaza headquarters. According to the release, the man was found unresponsive at some point while in custody. Police say officers administered “life-saving measures” until paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead.

“The Saint John Police sends our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased at this most difficult time,” police said.

Police say the investigation is in the hands of the Serious Incident Response Team, an independent agency which investigates incidents including serious injury and death arising from police actions, and that the force is co-operating. SIRT and Coroner’s Office representatives were “immediately contacted,” according to the release.


Staff Sgt. Sean Rocca said next of kin had been notified. When asked about policies regarding monitoring of detainees, he declined further comment, saying that the investigation is in SIRT’s hands.

Erin Nauss, acting director of SIRT, said that preliminary information suggests the man died at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday. When asked for other details about the circumstances of the arrest and the man’s time in custody, she declined comment and said that the investigation is ongoing.

SIRT publishes reviews of its investigations within three months of the investigation concluding, she said.

– Telegraph-Journal

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