An RCMP officer in Whitehorse cells choked a restrained prisoner into unconsciousness after asking paramedics to delay providing medical attention, according to a written complaint by Whitehorse paramedic Sasha Podolchak.
The complaint was filed with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP on September 5, 2009. It refers to an incident that took place on October 21, 2008.
Podolchak’s allegation about Cpl. Rob MacDougall’s actions paints a disturbing picture of what can happen to those arrested by the RCMP.
“People are too unaware of what happens in RCMP cells, and I’d like people to be more aware so we can put an end to this. It’s inhumane,” said Podolchak in a phone interview.
According to Podolchak’s complaint, the paramedic team arrived at the Whitehorse RCMP detachment to treat a man in police custody. RCMP reported the patient had a self-inflicted head wound.
When the ambulance team arrived at the detachment, police asked the two paramedics to stand back from the cells while officers restrained the injured man, strapping down his ankles and wrists and placing a spit guard around his mouth.
With the prisoner restrained, Podolchak and her partner asked if they could come in and treat the bleeding wound on the patient’s head.
“I asked if I could proceed to his side and look at the head laceration,” wrote Podolchak in her one-page complaint. “I was told to wait by Cpl. McDougall.”
The prisoner began to yell the officers had given him the head wound and that he was being denied medical assistance. His mouth was filling up with blood from his head wound and so the patient leaned forward to spit it out.
The complaint details what happened next.
“He made an effort to clear the blood from his own mouth under the spit hood by spitting the blood toward his la