Don’t tie drunk people to chairs, BCCLA tells RCMP

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The BCCLA is asking the Williams Lake detachment of the RCMP to stop tying intoxicated prisoners to chairs when those prisoners don’t follow directions. The organization is questioning why when Williams Lake resident Lloyd Gilbert was arrested for being drunk, he was tied to a chair for three hours and twenty minutes, was forced to urinate on himself, was only checked twice, and why officers at the detachment did not have access to a bare sobering cell for him. Gilbert was tied to a chair after he defied officer directions not to climb on a sink in the cell.

“Drunk people do stupid things, and the RCMP need facilities that prevent these people from hurting themselves so they can sober up safely,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “Tying drunk people who don’t follow instructions to chairs for hours, and thereby placing them at increased risk of aspirating their vomit and dying, is not the only response we expect to be available for RCMP officers to drunk prisoners that don’t follow instructions.”

In January of 2010, Mr. Gilbert called RCMP to report a robbery. When officers attended his
home, they determined that Gilbert was too drunk to be left alone safely and brought him to
cells in Williams Lake. In cells, Gilbert climbed on a sink repeatedly. A video obtained by
Gilbert under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act shows RCMP members then entering the cell and tying Gilbert to a chair with leather straps. Gilbert was tied to the chair for three hours and twenty minutes. During his time in the chair he is only checked twice, and he urinates on himself while restrained.

“In light of the Raymond Silverfox case and so many deaths in custody where individuals are severely intoxicated, we expect the RCMP to have better protocols in place for sobering those they arrest who are drunk,” said Holmes. “At the very least, if the RCMP is arresting someone because that person is so intoxicated he is a danger to himself, we would hope the RCMP would then act to minimize danger, not increase risk for the prisoner.”

Click here to watch a time elapsed video of Mr. Gilbert’s detention
Read the BCCLA’s letter to the RCMP and CPC
Read the RCMP arrest reports about this incident here

Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, 604-630-9753