Inmate dead following incident with Headingley corrections officers: First Nation chief
WINNIPEG -- An inmate at the Headingley Correctional Centre who was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after an incident with corrections officers has died.
Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson said 45-year-old William Walter Ahmo, a member of the First Nation and an inmate at the Headingley Correctional Centre, died on Sunday following an incident at the jail that put him in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
On February 7, RCMP said a 45-year-old inmate was reported to be unresponsive as a result of an incident with corrections officers. At the time, RCMP did not say how many officers were involved, or what the nature of the incident was.
In a statement on Monday, RCMP confirmed the death of the inmate, and said the Major Crime Services continues to investigate.
On Monday, Henderson identified Ahmo as the inmate involved in the incident. He said in a statement that Ahmo had remained in the Intensive Care Unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, being guarded by corrections officers until his death.
"Details of the cause of William's death, the facts surrounding the incident with corrections officers and the cause of the injuries he sustained are not yet known by us," Henderson said in a statement.
"The Sagkeeng First Nation Government is committed to supporting William's family now in the time of their terrible grief and hereafter in order to ensure that all of the facts of this matter are disclosed and that justice is done."
Ahmo's family told CTV News they are still grieving, but would be releasing a statement about the incident soon.
Henderson told CTV News he spoke with the family of Ahmo Monday morning. He said the First Nation is waiting for the results of the RCMP investigation, and called on Manitoba Justice to ensure they are treating inmates safely and humanely.
"I think we need to get to the bottom of some of these situations that have been happening with Indigenous people," he said.
"The correctional facilities are filled with our Indigenous people. Can you imagine the fear that is instilled upon them when something like this happens. How do you address a situation like that for them as people that are being held in these facilities. There's a fear."
Henderson said all the inmates deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of why they are in the correctional centre.
"The whole issue of racism, the systemic racism that we as Indigenous people have been faced with daily – I think that the governments of the day have to start listening."
CTV News has reached out to both RCMP and Manitoba Justice for more details.