RCMP faces Silverfox lawsuit

Raymond Silverfox's daughter, Deanna Lee Charlie, is suing the RCMP. In her statement of claim, filed on Tuesday, Charlie names eight police officers and three guards who had contact with Silverfox before he died.

Raymond Silverfox’s daughter, Deanna Lee Charlie, is suing the RCMP.

In her statement of claim, filed on Tuesday, Charlie names eight police officers and three guards who had contact with Silverfox before he died.

On December 2, 2008, emergency medical services were called when Silverfox began vomiting at the Salvation Army shelter.

When he declined a trip to the hospital with ambulance attendants, Silverfox was taken into custody by constables Daniel Bulford and Len Vanmark and put in the drunk tank.

Over the 13 hours that were to follow, Silverfox wet himself, defecated in his pants and vomited 26 times.

During a coroner’s inquest held last month, one officer estimated that 60 per cent of the cell was covered in this mess.

Silverfox spent most of the time on the floor, sometimes moaning and curled up into the fetal position.

His incarceration occurred over three different guard shifts and guards Craig MacLellan, Heather Balfour and Hector MacLellan each oversaw his custody.

RCMP officers Dennis Connelly, Geoff Corbett, Jeffrey Kalles, Heather Kaytor and Shirley Telep also frequented the cell block during Silverfox’s incarceration.

Cpl. Calista McLeod was the watch commander on duty at the relevant time.

All of these people “owed a duty of care to Silverfox to keep him safe and protect his well-being while in detention,” said the eight-page statement of claim.

“But they breached that duty of care.”

Silverfox died of acute pneumonia, which led to a lethal blood infection, according to Dr. Charles Lee, the forensic pathologist who investigated Silverfox’s death.

He likely contracted the infection from inhaling his own vomit.

Silverfox’s death would have been prevented with timely medical intervention, according to Charlie’s statement of claim.

Instead of helping him, officers and guards “made jokes, mocked and verbally abused Silverfox in a grossly shocking and disrespectful manner while he was detained in an uninhabitable cell and in-humane conditions.”

The claim describes the officers’ and guards’ conduct as intentionally negligent, grossly negligent, deliberately indifferent, reckless and in bad faith.

Because of Silverfox’s death, Charlie suffers from a psychological injury, which she is still treating.

She was forced to discontinue her studies at Yukon College and has still not been able to return.

Her father used to help pay for her studies.

She has had to pay funeral, potlatch and headstone costs and has lost the guidance, care, and companionship of her father.

Charlie is asking for special, general, aggravated and punitive damages as well as costs, interest and any alternative relief as the court may deem fit.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com