Man who died from Okanagan RCMP Taser had mental health challenges, family says

Man who died from Okanagan RCMP Taser had mental health challenges, family says

Family have identifed the man as 38-year-old Clayton Donnelly of Kelowna.

A Kelowna man who died after being tasered by police in Malakwa earlier this week suffered from mental health challenges, according to his family.

His step-mom Kelly Harrison, said Clayton Donnelly struggled for years with his mental health prior to his death on Oct. 28.

In a Facebook post she lamented the negative comments about Donnelly posted online and the lack of support available to adults suffering from mental illness.

“For those who like to condemn and judge and leave nasty messages on Facebook, maybe think a bit how you feel if it was your own loved one,” wrote Harrison.

“If I see one more comment, that he is a criminal and he deserved it I will scream. He is not a criminal he is a tortured soul, who was suffering from mental illness. This story is also about a wonderful family, that for over two years tried to get him help with success!”

According to police, officers responded to a call for an erratic driver on Highway 97 in Lake Country around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 28 and briefly stopped the vehicle south of Sicamous before it fled.

After pursing the vehicle for more than 20 kilometres, officers managed to stop the vehicle in Malakwa at approximately 3:20 a.m., however the driver allegedly resisted arrest.

As a result, police used a stun gun to arrest him, however he entered medical distress and was taken to hospital where he died on the evening of Oct. 29.

READ MORE: Ranchero Elementary student reports being followed by suspicious driver

READ MORE: Salmon Arm grad shares struggles with trauma and addiction

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), a civilian agency that investigates all police-officer related incidents that result in death or serious harm, is looking into the events which led up to the 38-year-old’s death.

An autopsy will be conducted to try and determine what caused his death after he was taken into police custody.

Ronald J. MacDonald, the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO said that while an autopsy will be completed soon, some of the related tests conducted by the forensic pathologist could take months.

He said the IIO is in the process of gathering evidence from the police vehicles involved, including GPS data and recordings of radio transmissions as well as video footage. He said the investigation is still in its early stages.

The IIO did not release the man’s name citing privacy legislation.

Along with the IIO, the BC Coroners Service is also investigating

Donnelly’s step-mom asked anyone who witnessed anything that might help the Independent Investigations Office unravel the events of his death to contact them at 1-855-446-8477.

“Whatever the truth is it is, we just want to know,” the post concludes.

READ MORE: Co-workers raise money for truck driver injured in North Shuswap accident

READ MORE: New parking meters: Salmon Arm to get them, the question remains when


Paul Clarke
Assistant bureau chief, B.C. Interior South Division
Email me at paul.clarke@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

Heather Walker, development coordinator at Community Services, is hoping the community will support their annual auction. (Community Services/Special to The News)
Largest auction fundraiser for Maple Ridge charity moved online

More than 100 items to bid on to support Community Services

Locally the Starfish Pack program currently delivers 125 backpacks to 15 schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. (The News/files)
Christmas plants to benefit hungry children in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Meadow Ridge Rotary Christmas Plant sale to raise money for the Starfish Backpack Program

Lisa Beare, the MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, was sworn in as a member of cabinet on Thursday, Nov. 26. (Special to The News)
MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has a new cabinet position

Lisa Beare is the new Minister of Citizen’s Services

The real estate market still reflects unique traits that bode well for the future, say local realtors. (The News file)
OUTLOOK: An ‘unprecedented’ housing market maintains strong outlook

Pandemic has had reverse impact on the real estate market

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Most Read