RCMP charge prison guard in death of Sagkeeng First Nation inmate in Manitoba

William Ahmo

William Ahmo, 45, died Feb. 14, 2021 following an altercation with prison guards. Photo: Facebook.

The RCMP in Headingley, Man., say they’ve charged a prison guard at a provincial jail following an investigation into the death of William Ahmo, 45, a father of one from Sagkeeng First Nation.

According to police, prison guard Robert Jeffrey Morden, 43, from the Rural Municipality of Rockwood “was arrested on January 21, 2022, and charged with Criminal Negligence Causing Death and Failing to Provide the Necessities of Life.

“Following an extensive investigation by officers within Major Crime Services, a detailed investigative report was sent to the Manitoba Prosecution Service for opinion,” the police statement says.

According to a police statement, there was a “prolonged standoff” between guards at the Headingley Correctional Centre and Ahmo on Feb. 7, 2021.

After the standoff, Ahmo “became unresponsive following the extraction and was transported to hospital in medical distress,” the statement says.

Ahmo died on Feb. 14 in hospital.

Headingley is a small community about 20 km west of Winnipeg.

The provincial correctional centre is a minimum, medium and maximum jail facility which holds 549 inmates according to the province’s website.

Family relieved that charges have been laid

The family of William Ahmo released a statement through their lawyer Friday.

“This has been an incredibly hard time for our family. Knowing that we may see the people who took Will from us held accountable gives us hope,” says Darlene Ahmo, William’s mother. “The RCMP has been respectful to our family through this process, and we are grateful for the professional manner that they conducted the investigation and stayed in contact with us.”

The family says they’ll be following the court proceedings.

Read the family’s statement here: 

Download (PDF, 63KB)

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement saying this is a wake-up call to the federal and provincial governments to deal with racism inside these institutions.

“There have been countless deaths in all the correctional facilities in this province – both federally and provincially operated. How many more of our First Nations people must die because of the racism encountered in these so-called correctional facilities?” the statement says.

“How can the system that prides itself on protecting people, allow for so many people to die?”

Read More: 

Altercation in correctional centre which led to Indigenous man dying caused by racism family’s lawyer says

Second man from Sagkeeng First Nation dies in custody 

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