Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)

Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic subject matter.

The cause of Stanley Fischer’s Nov. 15, 1981 death while in Victoria police custody is being called into question by his family. The death was ruled a suicide and that Fischer died by asphyxiation after he was found hanging in his cell – just hours after his arrest.

His nephew, Mark Fischer, believes the cause of death was more nefarious, alleging that Stanley was possibly murdered in his jail cell before his death was staged to look like a suicide.

A coroner’s inquest found Stanley hung himself in his cell with a hand-torn strip of police-issued blanket. Mark said the blanket would’ve been impossible to rip by hand, and it would’ve needed to be cut with something.

Stanley’s brother, Richard, testified about the night of his brother’s arrest during the inquest. Richard’s sworn testimony states he was with Stanley at the Motor Colony Inn when a disagreement broke out over the wrong drinks ending up on their bill. A kerfuffle ensued, and Stanley was pinned face-down on the floor by four men and two police officers. Richard testified Stanley was then handcuffed and dragged into the back of a cruiser, where he tried to kick the window out while being repeatedly hit by officers – before one said “I’ll kill you.”

Mark claims Stanley would’ve been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time, after previously serving overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

READ: Greater Victoria real estate sales slow down in April

Stanley had three broken ribs, but Mark doubts they were from efforts to resuscitate him as the inquest suggests. Mark thinks his uncle could’ve been severely beaten while jailed – to the point where Stanley couldn’t breathe, possibly causing his asphyxiation death.

“There’s no documents to prove (whether) Stanley’s ribs were broken prior to his death or after,” he said.

Mark also pointed to another discrepancy from Richard’s testimony that he says raises questions. The doctor who declared Stanley dead at 4:40 a.m. said there was no sign of blood on the body. Richard testified that when he saw his brother’s body in the hospital morgue just after 6 a.m., there was blood on his cheek and forehead.

The inquest also heard that the jail guard on duty that night had neglected to do some of his check-up rounds, which Mark says would make the department liable for Stanley’s death. Another inmate testified that police denied Stanley’s repeated requests to talk to his lawyer.

“They were responsible for him, prisoners have rights,” Mark said.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner said a misconduct complaint submitted by Mark wouldn’t be investigated because his claims lacked evidence that Victoria police officers and/or other inmates were responsible for Stanley’s death.

A Victoria police spokesperson says they’re just at the start of reviewing Mark’s concerns and they haven’t been able to respond yet, but hope to have more information in the weeks ahead.

READ: Province funds $750k to help CRD tackle toxic algae blooms in Saanich lakes

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-888-494-3888. Crisis text services are available at 250-800-3806 between 6 and 10 p.m., seven days a week. For more local resources, go to:

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

VictoriaWest Shore

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read