Family demanding answers after death of Indigenous teen in police custody
Indigenous teen died after spending the night in the cells at the Port Alberni RCMP detachment
With pain etched on their faces, the family of Jocelyn George gathered in Port Alberni, B.C. for the funeral of the 18-year-old mother of two.
The one question looming over them: how did she end up dead after an overnight stay in the cells of the Port Alberni RCMP detachment?
Outside of the funeral on Wednesday, her cousin Lee Lucas said there is an immediate need to hear from investigators about what happened to George while she was in police custody last Thursday night.
“We know she was brought in and they said she was okay, and she was found in the morning. Our main concern is to find out what happened in the time between when she was arrested and when the ambulance picked her up,” Lucas said.
George was taken to the West Coast General Hospital on the Friday morning after she was found “in need of medical attention” in her cell, according to the BC Coroners Service, but did not release the cause of death yet.
Lucas said he believes RCMP were well aware of the alcohol and drug problems his cousin had been dealing with. The family is asking for an investigation into the way people with addictions are dealt with by police.
“If things can change from this, if cop protocols can change from this when they bring someone in who has issues like this…” said her cousin Lee Lucas.
“You have got to look at how they are brought in and why they are not checked out,” said Lucas.
“Sometimes things have to change because this is happening far too much especially for our people in this province.”
George was a member of the Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nations.