Manitoba RCMP say they have laid charges against a Headingley jail guard after an inmate died there in February of 2021.
On the night of Feb. 7, 2021, there was a standoff between corrections officers and William Ahmo, 45, of Sagkeeng First Nation inside one of the jail’s common areas, said RCMP.
The prolonged standoff ended when officers eventually moved in and removed him.
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Ahmo “became unresponsive following the extraction and was transported to hospital in medical distress,” said RCMP.
He died in hospital a week later.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office of Manitoba did an autopsy and said he died due to homicide.
“Following an extensive investigation by officers within Major Crime Services, a detailed investigative report was sent to the Manitoba Prosecution Service for opinion. The Manitoba Prosecution Service subsequently forwarded the investigative report to Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General for opinion,” said RCMP.
Robert Jeffery Morden, 43, from the RM of Rockwood, faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life.
Ahmo’s family says in a statement they have hope now that the corrections officer may be held accountable for the death.
“The RCMP has been respectful to our family through this process, and we are grateful for the professional manner that they conducted the investigation and stayed in contact with us,” Ahmo’s mother, Darlene Ahmo, said in the statement Friday.
The family also said they will be monitoring the criminal proceedings and will assist prosecutors whenever they can.
“We expect an inquest will also be announced shortly but will not begin its proceedings until after the criminal charges are dealt with,” the statement said.
“This is only the first step in a long journey to justice and accountability.”
In February, Sagkeeng First Nation chief Derrick Henderson confirmed Ahmo was a member of the First Nation, and said he was at “Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg under guard by corrections officers until his death last night.”
Henderson said they were not told the details surrounding Ahmo’s death.
“The Sagkeeng First Nation Government is committed to supporting William’s family now in the time of their terrible grief and hereafter in order to ensure that all the facts of this matter are disclosed and that justice is done,” said Henderson in a statement sent to media.
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“We await the results of the RCMP investigation and demand that all necessary steps are taken immediately by Manitoba Corrections to ensure the safety and humane treatment of the inmates of correctional centres.”
“First, I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of William and I extend my appreciation to them and Chief Derrick Henderson, Sagkeeng First Nation for pushing for justice and an investigation into his death,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
“There have been countless deaths in all the correctional facilities in this province – both federally and provincially operated. How many more of our First Nations people must die because of the racism encountered in these so-called correctional facilities? How can the system that prides itself on protecting people, allow for so many people to die?”
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