Two security officers went inside Young's cell.
One grabbed the shackled teen by the back of the neck,
pushed him out the cell and pinned him against the wall.
"They would push him up against the wall, then sort of pull him back
and then push him again", said the youth in the next cell
who can not be identified because he is also a young offender.


The teen said Young didn't appear to be fighting back
and kept saying: "All I want is some food, man."

'Everybody's going to know who I am'
Mom of teen who plunged to death at courthouse says
son couldn't have kicked in elevator doors
Jessica Leeder, Florence Loyie, Ryan Cormier & James Baxter
Edmonton Journal, Jan 24, 2004

EDMONTON - Kyle James Young planned to be famous when he grew up. He promised one day he'd buy his whole family nice cars, maybe a nicer home. The 16-year-old died Thursday when he fell down an elevator shaft at the Edmonton courthouse. Handcuffed and shackled, he fell five floors and became stuck between the passenger car and shaft wall, less than a metre from the bottom.

"You know, Kyle always said, 'One day, I'm going to be famous. Everybody's going to know who I am,' " said Kyle's mom Lorena Young on Friday from her home in southeast Edmonton. "It's the wrong way, but now he's famous. He's just not here to see it."

Another youth who was in a holding cell behind Courtroom 444 on Thursday morning described what he saw. Young was inside a nearby cell and kept calling out that he was hungry, the youth said. "I want some food," he yelled over and over again. His pleas were ignored by court security officers. "I want some f---ing food," Young finally shouted.

Two security officers went inside Young's cell, the youth said. One grabbed the shackled teen by the back of the neck, pushed him out the cell and pinned him against the wall. "They would push him up against the wall, then sort of pull him back and then push him again," said the youth, who can not be identified because he is also a young offender.

The teen said Young didn't appear to be fighting back and kept saying: "All I want is some food, man." The officers walked Young around the corner to where the elevator was, and the witness lost sight of them. He said he could still hear loud banging sounds. "Then I heard a big bang," he said. "I was sitting on a metal seat, and I felt that move." The teen said he stood up and pressed his face to the plastic window of his cell. He said he heard a man yelling, "Oh, my god. Oh, my god." Then he heard someone say: "Thank god, I caught you." The teen witness said when the guards came back around the corner one was holding his nose, as if someone had struck him. Someone yelled to call 911.

He and several other prisoners were then handcuffed together and taken downstairs to holding cells, said the teen, who was later released. Lorena Young was adamant Friday her son, who didn't weigh "120 pounds soaking wet," couldn't have kicked in the doors himself. "There is no way Kyle could have kicked in those elevator doors. He's no bigger than I am."

Young said she spoke to the youth who claimed he witnessed an altercation with security officers. "He was in the cell right next to him when Kyle started yelling for food," she said. Young last spoke with her son Thursday morning, though she didn't go to court. "That morning, I wasn't feeling so good. Kyle told me I didn't need to go (to court) because it was just going to be a routine thing. He'd go in, say he did or he didn't (commit an offence), they'd take him back to the youth centre and the cops would fill me in later with the papers I needed to sign, or whatever. "When the police came and knocked on the door, I just thought they'd brought the papers for me to sign," she said, lips quivering.

Young spent most of Friday trying to make funeral arrangements and notifying family members out of town. "None of this will be real until his funeral's over," she said. "Right now it's like somebody is playing a mean trick on you, like they're pulling your leg or something."

Attorney General David Hancock said it would be "extremely unfortunate" for people to jump to conclusions about what happened behind Courtroom 444. "It's not helpful to speculate on any of the circumstances until all of the circumstances can be known and thoroughly investigated by people who are trained to do so." Besides the police investigation, at least five other government inquiries will be held, Hancock said. The solicitor general's office will conduct a "thorough internal review," as will the department of infrastructure, which oversees the courts building, the department of municipal affairs, which is responsible for elevator safety, the coroner's office and the public fatality inquiry review board. Hancock discounted concerns the city police could not conduct a sufficiently impartial investigation of the incident, but promised that outside investigators would be brought in if questions into police conduct arise. "If there is suggestion whatsoever of a need for more independence, then more independence will be there," he said.

There was a monitoring camera in the area, but a court spokesman said it did not contain a tape and doesn't record.

Police continued Friday interviewing courthouse security officers and other young offenders in the area at the time of the incident, said police spokesman Sgt. Chris Hayden. At least three security officers have been interviewed by detectives. "The exact cause of death from the medical examiner's office -- and I'm going to read you the exact terminology from the medical examiner's office -- is suspension by neck from a structural bracket of the elevator shaft," Hayden said.

Court and prisoner security officers are members of the Alberta Union of Public Employees. AUPE President Dan MacLennan said the officers involved have retained legal counsel. "My experience in dealing with CAPS officers, meeting with them and working with them when I worked in corrections, is that they do a very dangerous job and do it well," he said. MacLennan said that counselling will be made available to the guards.

While waiting to find out what happened in the moments before her son died, Lorena Young reminisced about good times with Kyle, who had lived with her for most of the last year. One of five children, her son was well-liked wherever he went, she said. "Kyle was very much like the picture you see. He was a good kid. He'd do anything to make you laugh, anything to get you in a better mood if you weren't feeling so good." Young said she has been inundated with calls from media, friends and even strangers from across the country calling with kind words. "The phone has been ringing off the hook, and not just reporters. Strangers. Just calling to say how horrible this is."

Her son made friends easily and liked to play pick-up basketball and video games, she said. "He never played on a team. He was never a hero or a star or anything. He just loved to play with his friends over in the park. "I mean, the kid was no angel, obviously. But he had his moments."

Fatality inquiry opens into why teen fell down court elevator (guards say the teen hit one of them the day before). Macleans, Jan 11, 2005. Go to COPS WHO KILL BLAME VICTIMS

Private funeral held for teen killed in courthouse elevator shaft fall, Canadian Press, Jan 26, 2004
Lorena Young bid a final goodbye to her 16-year-old son Monday as questions continued to swirl over how the teen fell to his death in a courthouse elevator shaft. Kyle James Young was remembered at a private funeral service restricted to family and friends... On Monday, police Sgt. Chris Hayden said his investigators "looked at the doors and they did not see any visible damage". Hayden said he's not suggesting the elevator company is wrong, merely that the two sides may have a different interpretation of the extent of the damage..."The Edmonton Police Service will deal strictly with facts and if there are discrepancies in what's been previously reported, we stand by the information we're providing," he said. But Emergency Services spokeswoman Karen Carlson said Monday that firefighters were concerned enough about one elevator door to rope and chain it to a fourth-floor stairwell in the courthouse, fearing it could tumble down on top of them as they tried to retrieve Young's body. "It was off its tracks, at least one portion of the door...For us that presented a risk"....Though there's mounting speculation on what happened before the teenaged prisoner plunged to his death, Bray said they'll leave it in the hands of police. "We can't comment on speculation . . . we'll let the facts tell the tale," he said. The elevator was last inspected on Dec. 16 and was found to meet safety standards.

The two guards involved have received counselling and have hired lawyers. Lorena Young, said she wants answers and wants to know whether her 120-pound son was scuffling with guards when he died. "I know how my son behaved. I know his weight. I know how far you can move when you're shackled and handcuffed so I definitely think there's something funny in the soup someplace," she said. "I'd just like to see some justice done. I don't want to see anybody hurt. "I want to know the truth."

Teen heard scuffle before fatal elevator fall. Canadian Press, Jan 24, 2004
..."If it could make the walls shake in the cells, someone has ben hit pretty hard," said witness. "When I saw the cop holding his nose, I thought he'd got hit in the face." Police and justice officials refused to comment on the allegations. A spokesman for the Solicitor General's Department said the doors opened prematurely or accidently and that Young stepped in and fell five stories despite the best efforts of one guard to pull him to safety... The boy's mother, Lorena Young, said she can't get the image of her son plummeting to his death out of her mind. "The time it took for him when he went through the doorway until he hit bottom had to be the longest, most terrifying time of his life," she said Friday. "And I can feel the pain. And it hurts." She said her son was no angel, "but he did not deserve to die the way he died, so violently. No way. Not shackled like some big-time criminal, hand to foot and down an elevator shaft. He was just a boy." Young spent six months in jail for car theft and recently got out only to find no schools would accept him, his mother said. He was living with her and completing a high-school course at home. She said her son might be able to dent an elevator door by kicking it, but at just 123 pounds, it would seem unlikely he could make one buckle.

Courthouse elevator door significantly damaged. Canoe News, Jan 23, 2004
...A teenaged prisoner scuffled with courthouse security guards moments before plunging to his death in an elevator shaft, but a maintenance official said Friday his staff found unusual damage to the elevator doors. "When we went down there, the elevator door was significantly damaged, basically hanging off of one of the cables," Ryan Wilson, vice-president of ThyssenKrupp Elevator, said from Vancouver. Wilson was at a loss to explain what might have caused the damage, but he discounted any possibility that the doors opened prematurely on the fourth floor of the Edmonton courthouse before the elevator car had arrived. "It is basically impossible for those doors to come off or to open prematurely when there is no elevator there," he said. "Elevator doors just don't open. They just don't. Engineering-wise it is just impossible for that to happen." The elevator was last inspected on Dec. 16. Wilson's comments added fuel to speculation that a struggle of some sort preceded the fatal fall...

Teen in custody falls to death in elevator shaft. CBC News, Jan 23, 2004
...a 17-year-old who spent three months in a group home with Young says he is shocked by the incident. "He was a good kid, not mouthy or anything. He knew to stick to himself."

Go to 34.Ministry of Love (Hate) and ANIMAL FARM DOGS


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~