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This article was published 30/7/2018 (503 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s police watchdog is probing the in-custody death of an unarmed 34-year-old man who died after being Tasered during a confrontation with Winnipeg police Saturday.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service personnel responded to a medical call in the city’s Chinatown neighbourhood around 10:30 p.m. Shortly after arriving on scene, first responders requested the help of the Winnipeg Police Service as the man was "acting aggressively."
On Monday, WPS Const. Rob Carver told reporters the man was unarmed.
"In order to effectively and safely control the individual – because that’s the protocol we use for everyone’s wellbeing, our officers, other members of the public and the individual – a Taser was used," Carver said.
After the man was Tasered, he was taken into custody in the area of King Street and Logan Avenue. Police said he quickly suffered a "medical emergency" after his arrest.
He was rushed to the Health Sciences Centre, where he was pronounced dead.
"He’s been Tased, secured and has a medical emergency on the street. It’s not (a matter of) minutes, I’m guessing it’s seconds," Carver said.
WPS notified the Independent Investigation Unit of the in-custody death shortly after midnight and investigators were dispatched to the scene.
The police watchdog – which has oversight on any incident where the action or inaction of a police officer results in serious injury or death – has requested a civilian monitor for the investigation.
During Monday’s press conference, a CBC reporter asked Carver to respond to allegations made by the man’s family that he was "beaten to death."
"This individual’s family was pretty upset this morning. They’re saying that police beat him to death. Can you just respond to that?" the reporter asked.
"It’s not at all (consistent with) the facts we have in front of us," Carver said.
Citing the ongoing IIU investigation, Carver said he was unable to release details on how many WPS officers were on scene, and whether the man was known to police. In addition, Carver declined to elaborate on the man’s behaviour in the lead-up to the altercation.
"Those details are going to be part and parcel of what the IIU is going to look at...I can tell you he was acting aggressively enough that Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service asked for police assistance," he said.
"Any connection between the deployment of the Taser and the ultimate outcome of this scenario is going to be left to the medical professionals and IIU."
At the end of the press conference, Carver told reporters the incident highlights the fact front-line officers never know what to expect when they show up to work each day. He was unable to say whether the officers involved have taken time away from active duty.
"Uniformed front-line officers are regularly exposed to trauma. It’s a horrible part of the job but it’s something we’re aware of and we take utmost care making sure our officers go home whole and balanced. But I’m not going to go into the details of what our officers felt that day," Carver said.
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Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.