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Inuvik RCMP asked to change their ways

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 19/05) - The Inuvik RCMP have been asked to re-evaluate how they treat intoxicated inmates.

A coroner's inquest made the recommendation last week in connection to the death of Frederick "Buster" McLeod, who died shortly after being brought into police custody in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2004.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Percy Kinney, chief coroner for the Northwest Territories, has asked to re-evaluate how they treat intoxicated inmates.

Alternatives for the specifications of the drunk tank will also be evaluated.

But McLeod's family doesn't think it's enough.

McLeod's sister, Laura Cardinal, isn't satisfied with the efforts of the police in the matter.

"There should have been a better investigation," said Cardinal. "The family is not satisfied, and we are taking legal actions."

Cardinal is upset that the police didn't take enough care of her brother to ensure his comfort and safety.

"If they were neglecting him at all, they will just have to pay the consequences," she said.

Cardinal wants answers, and won't stop her investigation until she finds them.

"The RCMP's lack of co-operation is just pathetic," said Cardinal. "I can't rest until I know what happened to my brother."

Percy Kinney, the chief coroner for the Territories hopes the RCMP will comply with the recommendations.

"They are not legally binding," said Kinney. "But I think they are morally and ethically binding."

Another recommendation was to have better communication between inmates and guards, said Kinney.

A hospital visit should also be conducted if there is need for worry, said Kinney.

The inquest followed an internal RCMP investigation.

Staff Sgt. Sid Gray of the Inuvik detachment said the recommendations are reasonable, but would not comment further on the inquest or the police investigation at this time.

The inquest lasted four days, with the jury of six hearing testimonies on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The jury took six hours to reach a decision for the recommendation.

Eleven exhibits of evidence were provided, said Kinney.