The family of Deanna Whitecap is demanding a thorough review of the File Hills Police Service, claiming the coroner’s inquest into her death has raised more questions.
Daughter Raquel Pasap said there are flaws in the current processes and relationship between the RCMP and File Hills Police Service and that jurisdictional issues are deflecting from taking responsibility, when dealing with a person in custody.
“We have heard testimonies for over the course of 3 days that provided us clear evidence that the current agreement between the RCMP and File Hills Police Service has gaps in process, in service, in continuity, in ensuring equal rights to citizens in the communities and surrounding areas,” Pasap said in a statement.
“From this inquest, we hoped for answers because we lost our mother. Throughout the testimonies, we discovered more needs to be done, to educate the public of these flawed practices, so the public knows their rights and are not to accept being a subject to the intimidation and negligence shared throughout this inquest.”
Whitecap was discovered in a cell at the Indian Head RCMP detachment unresponsive on September 2, 2017. Testimony heard that Whitecap went into medical distress, but that the guard watching the cell video left his post to bring blankets to other inmates. He testified he thought Whitecap was sleeping.
The cause of death was undetermined.
“Without knowing the exact number of offences for an individual and whether or not a person is subject to the seriousness of remand, a person should not be made a target of a perceived notion from an officer and be held in custody, harassed for a guilty plea, or have their rights violated because they are a person of interest,” Pasap explained.
The six-person jury at the coroner’s inquest into the death of Whitecap made eight recommendations. The jury is recommending the RCMP improve cell communication, constant cell monitoring and expand guard training.
(Photo: Deanna Whitecap. Courtesy of Renee Pasap.)