November 27, 2007
Mike Chouinard, The Chilliwack Times
An autopsy will begin today to look into the death of a Fraser Valley man who was pepper sprayed, hit with a baton and Tasered by Chilliwack RCMP last week.
Shortly after midnight on Nov. 24, Robert Thurston Knipstrom, 36, passed away at Surrey Memorial Hospital after being on life support for several days. He was brought there following an altercation at an Airport Road rental business on Nov. 19.
B.C. Coroner's Service spokesperson Jeff Dolan confirmed the forensic autopsy is scheduled for Nov. 27, but he is not sure how much time it will require. "The results won't be released publicly immediately," he told the Times Monday afternoon.
Knipstrom's case is also in the early stages of review with the coroners service to see if it proceeds to an official inquest.
In the meantime, people who knew him are still in shock from his death. His father Bob Knipstrom issued a short statement on behalf of the Abbotsford-based family through the RCMP: "The family is shocked and saddened by the recent incident between our son and the Chilliwack RCMP. We apologize on behalf of our son to the staff of [Eze Rent-It Centre] for any distress that was caused because of this incident. We would appreciate that the media respect our continued privacy at this time as we grieve the loss of our son."
Knipstrom's friends remain in shock after the events of the last week. On Saturday evening, friends in Chilliwack gathered to remember their friend. Cheryl Funk was not able to attend but she knew Knipstrom from his days working at the Wildcat Grill in Rosedale. She said Knipstrom was running his own business at the time but worked at the restaurant to give them some extra help.
"He was an extremely good friend . . . He would do anything for anybody," she said. "The thing with Bob is he always had a smile on his face." Funk said she and other friends knew he had "problems" but no one can figure out why police had to respond physically with such force, as he was not big. Knipstrom was reported to be about 5'6" and weigh about 150 pounds. "I know there's a full investigation and there should be," she said.
Other friends have set up a page on the social networking website Facebook to remember "Bobby" Knipstrom. Many of them recalled old memories of him as kind and caring person with a love for the outdoors.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
November 27, 2007