Police custody death review complete

The independent review into last summer’s death of a Kelowna man while in police custody has concluded that there is no evidence of criminality or wrongdoing by those who dealt with the man in the moments leading up to his death.

The independent review into last summer’s death of a Kelowna man while in police custody has concluded that there is no evidence of criminality or wrongdoing by those who dealt with the man in the moments leading up to his death.

On Aug. 15, 2010, RCMP were called to a Rutland gaming centre after patrons and employees called 911 about a customer’s bizarre outburst.

Kelowna RCMP said witnesses told them that Brandt Zimmer, 40, was showing obvious signs of distress and was screaming, jumping and smashing video games.

Police arrested Zimmer for mischief and then took him to hospital, where he died that day.

Central Saanich police were called in to independently investigate the death, which occurred while Zimmer was in police custody, and three officers came to Kelowna for several days to interview police and civilian witnesses.

On Friday, they said their investigation had concluded.

“There was no evidence of criminality or wrongdoing,” said Central Saanich Cpl. Janis Jean.

She said investigators found that Zimmer was in medical distress that day when being dealt with by police, and their investigation determined that Zimmer, who suffered from substance abuse, was under the influence of nonprescription and prescription drugs that day.

“We want to recognize how hard this is for the Zimmer family,” Jean added.

“It’s a really sad case for the Zimmer family.”

Zimmer’s cause of death has not been released, as the coroner is still investigating the death.

As well, the coroner’s service is also considering the possibility of an inquest into the death, and in that case it would be up to the jury to conclude what the cause of death is, said regional coroner Mark Coleman.

cwierda@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News