Thirty people too violent for Vancouver detox

Thirty people, including a 51-year-old man who died Oct. 7 in hospital after being in police custody, are barred from accessing the city's main detox centre and sobering unit.

Anna Marie D'Angelo, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health, said the people on the list were barred from the centre at 377 East Second Ave. for various reasons related to unruly behaviour.

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"You are refused admission if you're aggressive and combative," D'Angelo said. "You are banned from it if you have a history of violence towards the staff in either Vancouver detox or the sobering unit."

The detox centre is a program where clients have to apply to be admitted whereas the 13-bed sobering unit is designed for short stays by intoxicated people. The unit is staffed with doctors, nurses and counsellors.

D'Angelo declined to discuss the specific details related to the death of Stanley Robert Morrison because it is under investigation by the Independent Investigations Office.

Owen Court, a spokesman for the investigations' office, said Vancouver police responded at 7:22 p.m. on Oct. 7 to an incident involving a man "causing a disturbance" on West Seventh Avenue, near Laurel Street.

Police decided to transport Morrison to his home. A brief press release from the Vancouver Police Department said the man was barred from the detox centre.

When police arrived at Morrison's residence and prepared to release him, officers observed he had become unresponsive, Court said. Investigators haven't released the number of officers involved in the

incident.

Police called an ambulance and paramedics transported Morrison to hospital, where he died. The investigations' office was notified of the incident at 8 p.m. and learned Morrison died at 8:32 p.m.

The VPD has a specific policy in its regulations and procedures manual that pertains to arresting an intoxicated person in a public place.

According to the policy, "those adults who are refused admittance by detox staff may be detained in the Vancouver jail," which is staffed with nurses.

The policy also states "intoxicated persons who are found to be medically questionable, injured, ill or who require the use of painful stimuli to elicit a response, must be sent to hospital."

Investigators into Morrison's death have not released details on his condition at the time or what prompted officers to transport him home instead of to jail or hospital.

"Members are advised that an individual may be unable, given the nature of his/her injuries or degree of intoxication, to make rational decisions with respect to medical treatment," the policy says.

The investigations office's role is to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing on the part of the police in the death of Morrison. The office, which began operating in September, has the power to recommend criminal charges.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner appointed the New Westminster Police Department to investigate if there was any misconduct on part of the police, as it relates to the Police Act.

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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