Officer sentenced to a year in prison in death of Indigenous woman
LONDON, ONT. -- A London police constable convicted of criminal negligence in the death of 27-year-old Debra Chrisjohn will spend a year behind bars.
On Monday, Justice Renee Pomerance sentenced Cont. Nicholas Doering to 12 months in custody in Chrisjohn's Sept. 2016 death.
Chrisjohn was being detained and transferred to the St. Thomas OPP detachment for an outstanding charge at the time of her death.
Doering was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life in Nov. 2019.
In delivering the sentence Pomerance said, "Const. Doering should have known there was cause for concern...He was not willing to check on Ms. Chrisjohn's well-being."
Chrisjohn was high on drugs at the time of her arrest and died of cardiac arrest.
While Doering is reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress in relation to the incident, Pomerance added "The sentence must send a message that Ms. Chrisjohn's life was valued and was valuable."
Doering has 24 hours to report to be taken into custody.
London police Chief Steve Williams issued a statement following the sentencing, below is the full text:
“I am aware of Constable Doering’s sentence today and have reviewed the decision. The circumstances of this case are tragic and difficult for everyone involved...Effective immediately, Constable Doering has been suspended from duty with pay.
"The matter has been appealed by Constable Doering. The filing of the appeal has effectively paused the implementation of the conviction and sentence pending further legal review. While this case remains before the courts I am unable to further speak to the particulars of the matter. Once the criminal process has concluded, the Police Services Act misconduct investigation will follow.”
London Police Association President Dave Gilmore also issued a statement Monday, which reads in part, "“Police officers are not health care experts, yet...police officers are held accountable for systemic inadequacies in health care, addiction and mental health response."
The full statement is available here.