Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit investigating death of First Nations man in Thunder Bay police jail

(50-year-old Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay died in a Thunder Bay police cell Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the family)

APTN National News

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating the death Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay, 50, who was being held in a Thunder Bay jail cell Wednesday night.

The family has confirmed that McKay, from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, was in the city for medical reasons.

According to the SIU statement, Thunder Bay police officers responded to a call at an address on Fort William Road around 7:45 pm on Wednesday.

It’s not clear why McKay became involved with Thunder Bay police but the SIU statement said it was “to deal with an individual.”

Emergency medical personnel were also present and medically cleared McKay.

McKay was taken to the Thunder Bay police station where he was lodged in a cell.

Shortly after midnight, police found him in the cell not breathing.

McKay was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:30 am.

McKay’s mother was notified of her son’s death by a doctor from the hospital a family member told APTN.

According to the family, the autopsy will be completed Thursday. They also said the coroner told them a heart attack has been ruled out as a cause of death.

Read the release here: SIU

McKay’s sister Celia Echum, traveled to Thunder Bay after she received the news from their mother.

“I feel like there’s a void,” said Echum. “No answers from anyone right now,” Echum said through a private Facebook message on Thursday afternoon.

McKay’s mother and other family members are expected to arrive in Thunder Bay on Friday from KI.

Four investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the incident.

The SIU investigates any interaction between the public and police when there is a death, serious injury, or sexual assault allegations against officers.

The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about the investigation to contact the agency.

Contact APTN National News here: [email protected]

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4 thoughts on “Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit investigating death of First Nations man in Thunder Bay police jail

  1. I agree that all life is sacred and equally valuable, no matter of the financial or social status, nor of their cultural background.
    I am for example, a first generation immigrant to this beautiful country and feel accepted as such, through my openness and humble attempts to make this world a better place by being kind to everyone and everything in my environment.
    However, when I encounter less fortunate, less content or self-confident people then me, I don’t see them as “native” or “non-native”, but as a soul that is unfortunate or lost. Attempting to categorize the individual does not help the person, reaching out with a friendly word however, does.
    I don’t want to appear gullible, but I learned that kindness can move mountains from my own experience

  2. all life is sacred……no one race has a monopoly on it, in itself, but, every race should, be aware of, customs, language, religion even dress code, can bring out the worst in people, . We who where born and raise in this city must be like an alien life form to the new comers from far flung areas of Northern ONTARIO, as they to us
    Granted, there is a small group of individuals out to harass natives and do unruly things, as they target them….and I, myself have been at the other end, harassed by natives in of all places, McDonald’s, cause I refused to give money, threatened to get kicked in the head,etc …..We all need early training, on how we are to treat each other starting at home and through school. Claiming, one race is better than another, cause you where here first [whatever that means] does not do anyone any good, it only goes to incite the excitable.As, I have said, training, dialog from a young age, here and on the reserves will go far beyond any quick solution we may come up w2ith in the short term… May the gentleman rest in peace, HE WAS FAR TOO YOUNG TO GO

  3. Roland was a harmless and friendly man, I wouldn’t know why he would be in police custody. This is such a sad news.

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