Two Montreal police officers blatantly lied to independent investigators when they said they weren't aware of a man's medical condition before he collapsed and died while in custody, the Quebec police ethics committee has ruled.
According to last Tuesday's decision, the ethics committee said the difference between the officers' version of events and the video evidence was "striking," and when presented with the proof, the two officers tried to "explain the inexplicable."
It also ruled that the officers knowingly provided false information to Quebec's police watchdog, which investigated the man's death.
David Tshiteya Kalubi was arrested on Nov. 7, 2017 during a traffic stop.
Two police officers — Dominique Gagné and Mathieu Paré — questioned Kalubi that night at the Service de Police la Ville de Montréal's (SPVM) operation centre in the city's east end.
According to transcripts made available in the decision, Kalubi was asked if he had a pre-existing medical condition. He told them he had sickle cell anemia and relied on medication to treat it.
The following morning, Kalubi — who hadn't had any medication on him at the time of his arrest — was transferred to municipal court, where he was also detained.
The information about his condition was never documented on the inmate control sheet, the ruling states. There would have been no way for officers at the municipal court to know about Kalubi's condition.
The 23-year-old died several hours after arriving there. However, a Quebec coroner concluded that Kalubi did not die because he didn't have access to medication.
The coroner determined that the cause of death was a cardiac arrhythmia and that the presence of cocaine found in his blood was a contributing factor.
The committee said the officers' omission amounts to negligent and careless behaviour.
"The officer has the duty to respect the rights of each person under his supervision," the ruling reads.
Ultimately, no one was charged in connection with the 23-year-old's death. Quebec's Crown prosecutor's office determined that even though the police officers didn't follow proper procedure the night Kalubi was taken into custody, their actions didn't contribute to his death.