‘Absolutely Heartbreaking’: Vigil Organizer Says Deaths In Custody Preventable

Cecil James is helping to organize a vigil in Winnipeg three years after his sister, Kinew, died at the Regional Psychiatric Centre. (Cecil James/Submitted to CBC)

Cecil James is helping to organize a vigil in Winnipeg three years after his sister, Kinew, died at the Regional Psychiatric Centre. (Cecil James/Submitted to CBC)

Cecil James’ sister, Kinew, died at a psychiatric centre in Saskatoon in 2013

CBC News Posted: May 20, 2016

Cecil James will never forget the phone call that changed his family’s life forever.

His sister Kinew James died at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon after a nurse took too long to call a Code Blue after finding her unresponsive late one January night in 2013.

“That call was absolutely heartbreaking because we had conversation of what plans, of what she would do once she got out,” he said, adding his sister was expected to be released in August 2013.

James said that’s why he’s so eager to help throw a vigil and rally for Bradley Errol Green and Hollie Hall who died at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

(Left) Bradley Errol Green died at the Winnipeg Remand Centre on May 1 and Hollie Hall died there in March. (Courtesy of Rochelle Pranteau/Gerri Hall)

(Left) Bradley Errol Green died at the Winnipeg Remand Centre on May 1 and Hollie Hall died there in March. (Courtesy of Rochelle Pranteau/Gerri Hall)

Green, 26, experienced two epileptic seizures while in custody at the centre on May 1. He later died.

Hall died after contracting influenza or a flu-like illness while in custody in March.

“I’m there for the families, I can relate to what these people have gone through,” said James.

“Nobody expects a call in general from people saying your loved one’s passed away, but it’s definitely shocking when they’re supposed to be in a safe environment.”

He added, “These are preventable deaths. People go in with pre-existing medical conditions and just because they’re incarcerated, they shouldn’t be denied proper medical care.”

James said prominent Indigenous leaders in Manitoba will be at Saturday’s vigil, and all members of the public are encouraged to come.

He said many at the rally will be there to demand an inquest into the deaths of both Green and Hall. An inquest is continuing into his own sister’s death, he said.

“We’re still waiting for answers three years later, so this family will need the support. I’m glad the leadership has stepped up to support this family,” he said.

At a past vigil for Green, James met his younger brother Braydon.

“He’s a very strong young man. I wish I could’ve met him outside of this situation,” he said, adding Braydon volunteers with Bear Clan and Drag the Red.

“To be still out in the community doing what he can for the community and going through what he’s going through, he’s a strong young man and I’m just very impressed by him and I’m glad to have met him,” he said.

James said he plans to continue to support Green and Hall’s family in the years to come, and hopes others in Manitoba join him.

The event will take place at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday in front of the Remand Centre.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/vigil-organizer-says-deaths-in-custody-preventable-1.3592659

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