Man shares Halifax jail cell video to show 'inhumane' treatment
A man held naked in a Halifax jail cell in a pool of his own urine for two hours says he wants the public to see “how police treat people.”
Donald Smith was arrested for public intoxication in the summer of 2013. He says his experience in the jail cell was inhumane.
“Disgusting. I was in my own urine. Lying in my own urine,” said Smith.“They came in the cell and told me to take my clothes off. They said if you don't take your clothes off, we're going to do it for you.”
Smith says he drinks to cope with depression and severe anxiety.
He admits he was slamming his body against the bench inside the small jail cell. Police say he was then put into a "dry cell", and after being asked, voluntarily removed his clothing.
“These steps were taken for the man's safety and well-being,” said Theresa Rath of Halifax Regional Police.
Smith filed a complaint under the police act of Nova Scotia, but the allegations were not substantiated. He did appeal, but since he now lives in British Columbia, he wasn't able to attend the hearing.
Halifax police have since amended their policies to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Police say safety smocks were implemented in April 2014, and are used regularly, roughly once a week.
Cape Breton Police have a similar garment that can be used so people aren’t naked in cells. Police in Fredericton and Saint John say they don't have anything of that sort.
Moncton RCMP refused to say whether they do.
Police say Smith welcomes the change, but says more needs to be done.
“Police officers need to be more equipped with more mental health training,” said Smith.
He hopes sharing his story will help others.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.