Regina police wont release RCMP review of investigation in laundry chute death

Regina police won\t release RCMP review of investigation in laundry chute death
Police chief defends decision to keep RCMP report on Machiskinic death secret
Some changes are coming and others have already been made into how police handle major cases, but the review that recommend such improvements will be kept private,  Regina police Chief Evan Bray told reporters on Monday. 

The review followed an RCMP probe into the way Regina police handled the death of Nadine Machiskinic, 29, an Indigenous mother of four discovered fatally injured after she fell 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel on Jan. 10, 2015. 

"The meeting that we had with the family was very positive. There was some really good, I think, healing words said during the meeting, which is important," Bray told reporters. 

"I know they were frustrated, but making that report public wasn't something that I planned on doing — still don't plan on doing."

Delores Stevenson, Machiskinic's aunt, recently met with Bray and other police brass to discuss the review. 

"After going through what my family and I had to go through for two years to get where we're at I think that we deserve that much," she said at the time.

"I don't view it as a lack of transparency," Bray said Monday, adding that asking for RCMP to review its investigation shows a willingness to improve.

Bray says he has been communicating with the family, whom he thanked Monday,or others in the community, but say he has reasons for not publicizing the report. 

"There are techniques in here around major case management and investigation that are, I believe, sensitive to police investigations," Bray said of what's contained in the review. "There's some things that I believe police need to be able to hold sacred to not jeopardize future investigations and really that's the reason for making this decision."

He says nothing in the review hasn't already been discussed during a coroner's inquest into Machiskinic's death, which heard there were missteps and delays, include a communication error by police that resulted in samples meant for toxicology testing to sit in storage for six months.  

"Ultimately a review like this provides positive information for our police service in terms of changes we can make, but I feel like the information contained in the report is really something that benefits the Regina Police Service."

Bray says some policy changes regarding the handling of major cases have already been made. As well, as there has been training for some investigators and supervisors. 

The most significant change to be made early in 2019 will be moving two police officers into a major case management section, he says. 

The case into Machiskinic's death is not active, but Bray says police will examine any new information that may come to light. 

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at [email protected]

Reginas police chief says an RCMP review into how his officers investigated the death of a woman who plunged 10 storeys down a hotel laundry chute wont be released.

"There was nothing in the review that wasnt already discussed in the coroners inquest," Chief Evan Bray said Monday. "In fact, I would say that was a much more robust, in-depth dive into not just the investigation but the entire incident."

The inquest heard it took police 60 hours to open an investigation and more than a year before they began looking for two men shown on surveillance video with someone who appeared to be Machiskinic.

The coroner initially ruled the cause of her death could not be determined, but later changed it to accidental.

A jury at a coroners inquest last year changed the ruling back to undetermined, so Regina police asked the RCMP to look into the death.

Bray said the review includes major case management techniques which are sensitive and releasing the information could jeopardize future investigations.

"I feel like the information contained in the report is really something that benefits the Regina Police Service and is of little benefit to the general public reading it," Bray said.

Bray met with Machiskinics family earlier this month to discuss the review and said the case is closed pending new evidence.

An autopsy report said Machiskinic, a mother of four, died of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and trunk consistent with a fall. Blood tests showed she had alcohol and a mix of methadone and three other drugs in her system, as well as high levels of sleeping medication.

Although Bray said getting to the case late presented a challenge, he said he doesnt believe the delay affected the outcome of the investigation.

Bray said police are still missing information from the night Machiskinic died despite a long investigation.

"Thats what leaves us with a challenge, and I think leaves the family with still some inability for closure on this case."

Changes to Regina police operations have either already been made or are coming early next year, Bray said.

Two police officers will join the forces major case management section to minimize delays and gaps in an investigation, he said.