Manitoba’s chief medical examiner calls inquest into 2019 in-custody death in Selkirk

Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has called an inquest into the death of a man who police believed was high on cocaine, became unresponsive in the back of a police car and died.

Gary Klein, a 54-year-old from Winnipeg, called the RCMP detachment in Selkirk, Man., several times on Dec. 30, 2019, saying people were trying to hurt him. Police attended to him and found Klein high on cocaine, “hysterical, rambling and not making sense,” according to a news release issued by the office of the chief medical examiner.

Klein was taken into custody under the Mental Health Act without incident and brought to the RCMP detachment. But when officers opened the door to get him out of the vehicle in the parking bay, they found Klein unresponsive, the release says.

Paramedics and the shift supervisor were contacted, and officers performed CPR in the meantime, the release said. But the effort was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead the same day.

An autopsy later determined the death was accidental, caused by the toxic effects of cocaine, the release says.

Per Manitoba’s Fatality Inquiries Act, the inquest was called  to determine the circumstances surrounding Klein’s death in order to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Fatality inquiries can also be called if Dr. John K. Younes, Manitoba’s chief medical examiner, has reasonable grounds to believe the deceased person died as a result of use of force by a peace officer acting in the course of duty.

An inquiry can also be called if the person died while in custody, if they were a resident of a custodial facility, an involuntary resident in a facility under the Mental Health Act, or a resident in a developmental centre as defined in the Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act.

Information about when and where the inquest will take place will be determined by the Chief Judge
of the Provincial Court of Manitoba and released at a later date, the release says.

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