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RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis, who smoked marijuana on job, found dead

A New Brunswick Mountie who made national headlines for smoking medical marijuana while in uniform last year has been found dead.

The death of RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis was confirmed to CBC News by Pat Polchies, a councillor with the Kingsclear First Nation.

Francis’s lawyer T.J. Burke said Francis died around 4 o’clock Monday afternoon. There is no word on the cause of death.

Chief Gabriel Atwin of Kingsclear First Nation was emotional as he spoke Monday evening.

“It’s a tragic, tragic event,” he said. “Tragic loss to our community. Ron was not only a good friend of mine, and a great community member, but also a family member of mine. It’s a tragic event.”


Francis was a 21-year RCMP veteran who was serving with the force’s J Division in Fredericton, and had been facing six criminal charges.

He was set to stand trial in September on the six charges, including two counts of assaulting fellow officers and one count of breaching an undertaking to not possess or consume alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

He pleaded guilty to three of the counts just before his three-day trial was to begin. The other charges were dropped. His sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 3.

Francis was still on medical leave from the RCMP. At his court appearance in September, he said he was focused on healing, and hoped his treatment would include guidance from a native elder.

He was prescribed medical marijuana last November, and said at the time it helped him calm down and reduced his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. He was pictured smoking the drug shortly thereafter in his red serge uniform, prompting a crackdown by the RCMP.

A Facebook group titled Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness posted a tribute to Francis.

“Our hearts go out to Ron, who struggled for so long, his family who journeyed with him, and all those who knew, worked with and loved him, all of whom are struggling to deal with the aftermath of suicide,” it reads.

“Please know that we at Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness are devastated and we are working tirelessly to do all we can to stop these tragedies from occurring.”

Article source CBC News

 

Ron Francis, pot-smoking Mountie who suffered from PTSD, found dead

Tristin Hopper | October 6, 2014 | Last Updated: Oct 7 1:32 AM ET

A tearful Cpl. Ron Francis arrives at RCMP J Division Headquarters to turn in his red serge uniform on Nov.  29, 2013.

Keith Minchin For National Post A tearful Cpl. Ron Francis arrives at RCMP J Division Headquarters to turn in his red serge uniform on Nov. 29, 2013.
  • Cpl. Ron Francis, the New Brunswick Mountie who garnered national attention for smoking medical marijuana while in uniform, has been found dead of an apparent suicide.

The news was announced Monday night by the group Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness.

“We write this note with a very heavy heart, we have lost another RCMP member, Cpl. Ron Francis who lost his battle with PTSD, today Monday Oct 6th, 2014,” wrote the group in a Monday night post.

Last November, Cpl. Francis became known across Canada after he appeared on CBC smoking marijuana while dressed in his RCMP red serge dress uniform.

A 21-year veteran of the force, Cpl. Francis had been legally prescribed medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, and said he made the appearance as a protest of the RCMP’s PTSD policy.

“I’m trying to draw attention to the fact that the RCMP fails to have a program in place for proper [PTSD] screening for their members and proper information for their families,” he told the National Post at the time.

“People are dying, they’re committing suicide because there’s no proper backup,” he added.

A witness to several murder scenes and fatal automobile collisions, Cpl. Francis said a major factor behind his PTSD diagnosis came in 2012 when authorities broke up a plot to kill him.

Following the CBC appearance, Cpl. Francis was ordered to turn in his uniform. At the time, Justice Minister Peter MacKay condemned the stunt, saying it “sets a poor example for Canadians.”

Just last month, Cpl. Francis appeared in a New Brunswick court to plead guilty to assaulting fellow RCMP officers. He had previously pleaded not guilty to assaulting two officers in a Dec. 6 incident when he punched and shoved RCMP members who had confronted him on a Fredericton street in an effort to take him to hospital for a mental-health assessment. A few weeks later, Cpl. Francis assaulted two other officers in Oromocto after they arrested him for breaching the terms of his probation by drinking alcohol.

Weeping as he delivered his plea, Cpl. Francis said at the time that he hoped his case would bring attention to the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder. He was due to be sentenced next month.

National Post, with files form Jen Gerson and the Canadian Press

CBC

CBC Cpl. Ronald Francis smoking prescription marijuana in uniform in 2013.
Article source National Post

UPDATED: ‘Ron was so much more than PTSD’: RCMP

 

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