An altercation with Prince Albert Police has left a 40-year-old father of five with critical injuries and no brain activity as a result of excessive force, says his family.
During an FSIN press conference on Friday morning, Boden Umpherville’s older brother Darry said Boden was a youth worker who was turning his life around.
“My brother never deserved any of this, no human being deserved what my brother went through,” said Darry. “[I’m] just disgusted with the police force for what they did to my brother.”
Boden’s adopted brother Chase Sinclair said Boden is a kind, compassionate and caring man.
“He loved his family very much, he lived for his family,” said Sinclair, who added that what happened to Boden was uncalled for, unjust, and barbaric.
According to Prince Albert Police Service, PAPS members stopped a vehicle in the 1100 Block of 13th Street West at 2:23 a.m. on April 1 as part of a stolen vehicle investigation.
Witnesses say Boden was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Besides him, there were two other occupants in the vehicle, including the registered owner, who says she never reported the vehicle as stolen.
Videos of the incident circulated on social media, which show police officers deploying conducted energy weapons multiple times, physically striking Boden, as well as using pepper spray and a baton. The K9 unit was also at the scene.
Boden’s injuries include broken orbital bones on both sides of his face, a laceration above his eye that required 19 stitches, cuts all over his head and body, and multiple burns marks left by tasers, according to his family.
FSIN confirmed the videos have been sent to them and during the press conference, Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat said one can observe a “gang-like mentality” displayed by the officers while they swarmed Boden.
Witnesses to the incident say immediate medical attention was not administered to Boden upon his collapse and he was instead left handcuffed on the ground.
“As a result of the extreme force used to extradite Mr. Umpherville from the vehicle, he is now on life support with no brain activity,” said Lerat. “His family are left with no answers to their questions and concerns over the transparency over any accountability for the police.”
Boden will soon be taken off life support machines, said his family.
Physicians have provided the opinion that Boden’s current state was accelerated due to a 20-minute period where his heart stopped beating before being revived.
Discussing the alleged lack of action taken by officers to resuscitate Boden while in medical distress leaves his mother in tears, but Verna Umpherville said she has faith her son will come back to her.
“I just hope this will never happen to any mother, what I have to go through,” said Verna. “This should never have happened. My heart’s broken for my son.”
Darry and Verna said they were given the runaround on Boden’s whereabouts by police and have only been in contact with PAPS once since the incident occurred, after Verna reached out to them first.
“They hid my brother from me and my mother,” said Darry. “They lied to us and said he wasn’t there, that he was transferred here to Saskatoon while he was still in PA hospital.”
The province’s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) have launched an independent investigation into the matter. SIRT reported that they located a loaded firearm at the scene but did not specify who the gun belonged to.
Shortly after the altercation, SIRT identified nine officers related to the incident and placed them on a one-week leave of absence.
Lerat said those officers have now resumed their regular police duties, a decision that leaves Verna questioning.
“Why are they still working? I don’t understand that,” said Verna. “Justice has to begin somewhere, and I think it should begin by taking their badges from them. I don’t think they should be working with the public in PA. They’re going to be accountable for their actions.”
According to FSIN, there has been no comment on the incident from PAPS administration or any members of the provincial justice system.
FSIN and Boden’s family are left with many questions about the night of the incident, but Lerat said the most important one is, “Are our people safe at the hands of the police in Prince Albert?”
In am email to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, the Prince Albert Police Service said officers were given time to participate in the ongoing investigation and access a peer-led reintegration program and in-house wellness strategy. PAPS directed further questions to SIRT.