Thunder Bay police chief tells custody deaths inquest that force lacked compassion
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The acting chief of the Thunder Bay Police Service is telling an inquest into the custody deaths of two men that the force lacked compassion for people they were interacting with at the time of the deaths.
Dan Taddeo is testifying at the joint coroner’s inquest into the 2014 death of Donald Mamakwa and the 2017 death of Roland McKay.
Both Indigenous men died of medical conditions while in custody at police headquarters after being arrested on suspicion of public intoxication.
Taddeo says he generally agreed with a lawyer for the men’s families that the culture at the police force at the time of the deaths allowed stereotypes to fester.
He says there was a lack of resources in the city to support people with addictions and other challenges that led to “compassion fatigue” among officers, though he says he’s seen improvements since then.
Taddeo also says McKay and Mamakwa should never have been in police cells.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2022.