Alberta’s police watchdog says no one was with a man who fell from a balcony during a check by Edmonton police in February.
In an update to their investigation Monday morning, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) said Edmonton police received a call at about 7:39 a.m. on Feb. 28 from a resident in a residential tower in west Edmonton.
It was reported to police a 39-year-old man was distressed, “under the influence of a controlled substance,” and acting erratically while throwing items off a balcony onto the ground below. He also sometimes sat on the railing of the balcony, ASIRT said in a news release.
At about 8:14 a.m., officers began speaking with the man to de-escalate the situation. While the man moved between the inside of the suite and the balcony, other officers were on the ground to prevent bystanders from walking below the balcony and possibly being struck by falling objects.
ASIRT said as officers continued to speak with the man, he went out onto the balcony and blocked the door. Additional police resources, including the tactical team, a negotiator, and emergency medical personnel were requested.
While waiting for their arrival, officers continued to speak to the man from inside the unit. The man then broke through one of the glass panels of the balcony railing and lowered himself onto the balcony of the unit one floor below.
At about 9:14 a.m., the man attempted to drop himself down another floor to another balcony immediately below using a belt. As he lowered himself, he lost his grip on the belt and fell multiple floors to the ground below, resulting in critical, life-threatening injuries.
ASIRT said video evidence shows no one was on the balcony with the man as he attempted to lower himself for the second time.
The man was immediately treated by first responders and he was transported to hospital where he remains in an intensive care unit.
ASIRT continues to investigate the conduct of police, including the circumstances leading up to the man’s fall.