VANCOUVER (CBC) – The federal New Democrats are again calling for the creation of a civilian watchdog agency to oversee the RCMP in light of the death of a Yukon man in custody nearly two years ago. British Columbia NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who introduced a private member’s bill last year proposing an independent RCMP watchdog, said the in-custody death of Raymond Silverfox in 2008 shows that police should not be policing police. Cullen’s bill proposes the creation of an independent civilian agency that would investigate deaths or serious injuries that occur to people in RCMP custody. “It’s not an issue of revenge. This is just purely an issue of justice.” Silverfox, a 43-year-old First Nations man from Carmacks, Yukon, died after he was kept in the Whitehorse RCMP detachment’s drunk tank for about 13 hours on Dec. 2, 2008. A Yukon coroner’s inquest in April heard that RCMP officers and detachment guards on duty that day did not seek medical attention for Silverfox during that time, even though he was vomiting profusely. Some officers and guards even mocked and jeered at Silverfox as he lay in a pool of his own vomit and feces, the inquest heard. He was eventually taken to hospital, where he died that evening. “It was only through a public inquiry that we’re able to properly understand what was happening and what happened to Mr. Dziekanski,” referring to Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died after RCMP officers used a Taser on him at the Vancouver airport in 2007. Cullen said an independent RCMP watchdog agency would be similar to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which oversees the provincial police force there. The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, an existing independent agency created by Parliament, is not given the “teeth” to conduct investigations and bring in experts, Cullen said. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/100601/canada/canada_north_ndp_silverfox_rcmp

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