by Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – The family of a Blackfoot man who died in a Calgary jail still doesn’t know his cause of death more than a year after it occured, APTN News reports.
On Oct. 23, 2020, 41-year-old Sonny Crazy Bull was arrested on breach-related charges, according to police.
Police say they checked on him twice — the first time he was eating his meal and then the next he was dead.
“I would like answers,” his mother Shelley Crazy Bull told APTN.
“Now it’s been over a year, my son was a gentleman. He was loving, caring, a kind person. He didn’t have to go through this.”
The day he was arrested, Sonny told his mother he was meeting his niece at a train station and then going to church with her.
He was arrested on his breaches after police received reports of a man with an airsoft gun.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was very unbelievable. My son was just home, he was OK and he was healthy, very healthy,” Shelley said.
Because he died in police custody, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates allegations of police wrongdoing, was called in to investigate.
It’s been more than a year and the investigation hasn’t been completed. ASIRT representatives told APTN it could take a while, because they’re vastly “under resourced” and are still investigating cases from 2018.
According to ASIRT’s own data, there have been 261 investigations since 2018 — 70 cases in 2018, 75 in 2019, 78 in 2020 and 38 so far in 2021.
“It’s taking too long. Ever since that night when the police came, things haven’t been the same for me” said Shelley.
Sonny wasn’t the only child Shelley lost last year. In February 2020, her daughter died.
She has photos of both her children placed around her home, reminding her of happier times during their lives that were cut short while she waits for answers.