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Yukon Government, Whitehorse Corrections Centre deny alleged beating

A response to a lawsuit claiming mistreatment in the jail’s arrest processing unit
A lawsuit is before the Yukon Supreme court with allegations against the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and some of its corrections officers. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The Whitehorse Corrections Centre is denying allegations that a prisoner was beaten in the jail’s arrest processing unit on February 28, 2020.

The corrections centre is accused of responding violently to a prisoner’s manic episode, according to a lawsuit filed by Dennis Merrick Day.

Day alleges he was mistreated following his arrest at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter.

In the lawsuit, Day claims he was pushed into a cell wall, punched and placed in a painful wrist hold by corrections officers after lighting a blanket on fire. The suit claims that he was in a manic state when he was taken to the jail. It claims the officers then acted unlawfully and breached his charter rights.

The group of defendants deny virtually everything Day asserts in his lawsuit. They go on to present their own version of the events that followed Day’s arrest.

The statement of defence details the response after Day set a blanket on fire in the arrest processing unit. The statement says Day refused to drop the burning blanket and step out of the cell when asked. It says corrections officers then entered the cell to remove the burning blanket and to move Day to a cell that wasn’t filled with smoke.

It notes that with the exception of one of the corrections officers carrying a shield, the officers did not wear special clothing or use any other equipment.

The statement of defence says that, as Day was backing away from the officer carrying the shield, he bumped into the cell’s bed and fell against the wall, hitting his head. It says the officer with the shield did not make contact with Day until he had bumped into the bed.

The statement of defence claims that if force was used, it was necessary to prevent injury and property damage.

The defence states that the officers handcuffed Day and moved him to a nearby cell and then applied pressure to a cut on the back of his head. It says he was taken to hospital by ambulance under the escort of two corrections officers.

“The defendants deny that the plaintiff suffered any injury, loss, damage or expenses as a result of the incident,” the statement of defence reads.

It goes on to say that if Day suffered any negative effects, then they were due to his negligence in failing to turn over his lighter, setting the blanket on fire and resisting the corrections officers words.

The statement also denies Day’s Charter rights were breached.

Day’s lawsuit claims that the arrest processing unit is supposed to provide on-site medical assessment and care which should have included screening for his manic symptoms. The statement of defence says WCC’s arrest processing unit “is not a health care facility.”

The statement of defence concludes by asking the judge to dismiss Day’s petition.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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