They thought that nobody would care

first_imgBy Shirley McLeanAPTN National NewsWHITEHORSE –A Yukon family was in court Friday trying to quash the finding’s of a coroner’s inquest into the death of a 43-year-old First Nations man who died in a Whitehorse hospital after spending several hours lying in his own feces, urine and vomit inside an RCMP cell while officers and guards watched and mocked him.Silverfox’s family have gone to the Yukon Supreme Court to challenge the findings of the inquest which concluded the death was the result of natural causes.The court adjourned proceedings for two months.“No way I’m going…to let my dad have that set against him and I took the next step and here I am now,” said Silverfox’s daughter Deana Lee Charlie. “I will fight all the way through for my dad.”Silverfox’s family believes the coroner was biased in favour of the RCMP. They are raising questions the coroner’s handing of RCMP audio and vidoe footage from the jail cell.The family is calling for the footage to be made public and for an inquiry into Silverfox’s death.“It’s very important for the public to see what truly happened to my dad, he sacrificed his life for others to see what really happens in jail cells,” said Charlie.During the coroner’s inquest, the family learned that Silverfox was mocked and ridiculed by RCMP officers and guards while he lay in his own excrement.Most of Silverfox’s cell was covered with his own vomit, feces and urine and he was denied a request for a mattress by an RCMP officer who told him to “sleep in your own shit,” the inquest heard.Silverfox, from Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, drank a bottle of vodka while celebrating his 43rd birthday when he was picked up by police early on the morning of Dec. 2, 2008.Throughout the about 13 hours in the cells, Silverfox writhed in pain, vomited and soiled himself but received no aid from the RCMP officers and guards watching him over closed circuit television cameras. Instead, they cracked jokes about his predicament.An ambulance was called after Silverfox was found lying face down and unresponsive in his cell.Paramedics managed to revive him on the way to the hospital in Whitehorse where he was eventually pronounced dead.A forensic pathologist testified at the inquest that Silverfox had died from pneumonia and sepsis.The pneumonia was likely triggered by Silverfox breathing in his own vomit, the pathologist concluded.Stomach bacteria were found in his lungs.The RCMP issued an apology.“I am shocked and disappointed, as are many members of the RCMP that Mr. Silverfox had to endure the insensitive and callous treatment he endured while he was in our care. We have failed you and we have failed ourselves,” said RCMP Supt. Peter Clark, in the apology issued earlier this year.The Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP is also probing the death.Family and friends believe the RCMP is responsible for Silverfox’s death because they refused him help. They also believe that the inquest merely meant to tidy-up the death.“They thought that nobody would care. They didn’t realize that we do care, that we love his guy. His family loved him, people loved him,” said friend Joseph O’brien.Silverfox’s daughter said she’s not going to stop fighting until she finds justice.“It’s very important for the public to see what truly happened to my dad,” said Charlie.”He sacrificed his life for others to see what really happens in jail cells.”last_img