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Monday, August 23 - Officer Down!

On Monday, August 23, I spent the day at Matsqui interviewing prisoners in the case management building, and just before 4:00 p.m. went to review some files in the records room. I heard some shouting at the other end of the corridor and came out into the hall to see one of the case management officers, Mike Boileau, slumped on the floor with blood streaming down his face. Mr. Boileau had been interviewing a prisoner, Dennis McLaren, who had six months earlier been returned to Matsqui from Elbow Lake minimum security camp. Mr. McLaren had appeared before the Parole Board in June, and although he was denied parole at that time because he did not have a suitable release plan, the Parole Board set a further review date for August 1993, with the expectation that a proper plan would then be placed before them. The paperwork necessary for Mr. McLaren's parole hearing had not been prepared, and Mr. Boileau, who had recently taken over Mr. McLaren's case, was explaining the reasons for the delay. Mr. McLaren, dissatisfied with the explanation and the consequence that his August hearing would have to be postponed, became very angry and punched Mr. Boileau in the face, knocking him to the ground. Another staff member, Tony Gagné, intervened and wrestled Mr. McLaren down. Someone pressed the emergency button, and other officers rushed to the case management building, where Mr. McLaren was taken into custody and escorted to the segregation unit. A nurse from the prison hospital was called to attend to Mr. Boileau, who was taken by wheelchair first to the prison hospital and then to the outside hospital in Abbotsford. All of this happened just minutes before the staff in the case management building normally leave at the end of the day. Because there was no psychologist in the institution, the normal debriefing for staff who had witnessed a major incident could not be carried out. However, the warden asked all of the case management people to meet in the Visiting and Correspondence area to give everyone a chance to catch their breath before going home. He indicated that a full debriefing would be held the next day.

(Unless otherwise indicated, the source of the material presented in this chapter is my research notes made contemporaneously with the events described)


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