Did cop 'let him die'?

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Tue, 26 May 1998 09:20:18 -0400

Tuesday, May 26, 1998

  Did cop 'let him die'?

  Inquest told of choking sounds

    "Let him die," one of three Toronto Police officers said of an
  unconscious Tony Viveiros, an inquest has heard.

  A cop at 14 Division asked two other officers walking through
  holding cells if they should check Viveiros, 20, who was making a
  loud gurgling sound, a witness testified yesterday.

  "Another one said, 'No, f--- him, let him die,' " Wayne Barclay, 38,
  told an inquest into the Nov. 11, 1995, death of Viveiros.

  "It still bothers me -- the noise and what the police said ... If I
  somebody breathing like that I would wake them up and find out what
  was wrong," Barclay told the inquest.

  Viveiros' sister, Suzie Lashley, 24, dabbed away tears as she and five

  jurors watched a police videotape of her brother's arrival, booking
  incarceration at 14 Division.

  "It's my brother. He died at his peak, 20 (years old). My mom, to this

  day she can't talk about it," she said outside coroner's court.

  A pathologist said Tony Viveiros died from "complications of
  cardiac-pulmonary arrest associated with combined
  methadone-alcohol intoxication and aspiration of gastric contents."

  Blood and urine samples taken from Viveiros before he died also
  showed marijuana, a cocaine breakdown product and a Percodan-like
  drug, a toxicologist testified.

  Pathologist Dr. David Chiasson said cardiac and respiratory arrest
  was caused by Viveiros inhaling vomit into his lungs.

  Toxicologist Joel Mayer said people have been killed by one-third the
  methadone in Viveiros system.

  His vital signs were absent when Viveiros was taken by ambulance
  from jail just before 11 a.m.

  Barclay said the choking, gurgling noise went on for "two to three
  hours. I would in no way call what he was doing 'snoring.' "

  Anthony Francsics, 24, brought to the jail cells to identify Viveiros
  said, "I wasn't sure he was snoring or if he was having a hard time