Three Saanich police detectives and a forensic technician are in Penticton this week conducting an external investigation into the death of a 30-year-old man who died in police cells.
Steven Joseph Scott was arrested by RCMP Aug. 9 and remanded by a justice of the peace. He was found dead in his cell the following morning.
“When we do an external investigation, we’re focusing on the manner of the death, and any causal factors that may have led to his death,” said Det. Sgt. Chris Horsley, one of the four officers sent to Penticton. “That includes the movements of the deceased prior to coming into contact with the RCMP. … In this case we’d want to know what people he’d come into contact with, what he was doing, was there anything that happened prior to him being arrested by RCMP that may have been a causal factor in his death.”
The B.C. Coroners Service conducted an autopsy Monday afternoon in Penticton.
Because the death happened while Scott was in police custody, all his movements and interactions since being arrested have been caught on film.
“Our mandate here is to conduct an external investigation to determine if there’s any criminality involved in the manner of death,” Horsley added.
Scott, of no fixed address, was initially arrested as a result of a disturbance call and a refusal to leave a Penticton residence.
An RCMP policy relating to police-involved incidents that result in injury or death requires that an external investigation be conducted by an outside police department.
Saanich investigators have previously conducted investigations into a fatal Surrey RCMP shooting and a fatal North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP-involved crash in Duncan. Investigators from Saanich are also, right now, investigating a different North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP crash, which resulted in injuries to a civilian driver.
The cost of external investigations conducted by Saanich police is paid for by the RCMP, not Saanich taxpayers.