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Prince Albert police officer criminally charged in man's death


A Prince Albert police officer is facing criminal charges in connection with a man's in-custody death.

Saul Laliberte, 33, died in a police detention facility on November 7, 2021.

The Prince Albert Police Service says it has charged an officer with criminal negligence causing death, and failing to provide the necessities of life, based on a recommendation from the Crown.

"We want to assure the public that we take every matter seriously, and while today's announcement may raise concerns, we are committed to upholding the integrity of the court process," interim police chief Patrick Nogier said in a news release.

"It is important for us to respect this process while simultaneously supporting our members and thoroughly reviewing our internal policies and protocols," Nogier said.

The news release did not identify the officer, only saying the officer has 21 years of experience.  CTV News confirmed the Sgt. Tyson Morash is the officer who has been charged.

Morash has been relieved from active duty, according to the police service.

A news release two days after his death said Laliberte was found unresponsive in his cell and a paramedic on shift provided care prior to arrival of an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at Victoria Hospital.

According to the news release, Laliberte had been arrested on outstanding warrants.

In 2018, Laliberte recounted to CTV News his experience as one of a handful prisoner negotiators who attempted to prevent a fatal riot at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

Policing in Prince Albert has come under increased scrutiny, with a damning report released in May that found two officers failed to adequately protect an infant boy who died last year and should face discipline.

Chief Jonathan Bergen resigned the same day the report was released.

Nogier, who is with the Saskatoon Police Service, took over as interim chief after Bergen's departure.

The findings of two other significant investigations involving Prince Albert police have yet to be released. Both are related to fatal officer-involved incidents that occurred earlier this year.

The province launched an independent review of the police service last fall.

The police service has also struggled with recruitment. Last year it offered a $25,000 hiring bonus for experienced officers who successfully applied. 

--With files from Stacey Hein Top Stories

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