Ottawa

Police watchdog investigates death of man in Ottawa police cruiser

Ontario's police watchdog is investigating the death of a man in Ottawa on Saturday.

Officers were transporting man to Shepherds of Good Hope shelter, SIU says

A police cruiser is loaded onto a tow truck outside the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter in the ByWard Market on Saturday. (Radio-Canada)

Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a man died on Saturday while he was being transported in an Ottawa police cruiser.

In a news release, the Special Investigations Unit said Ottawa police officers were called to respond to an intoxicated man outside the Lord Elgin Hotel around 12:15 p.m.

The release said the man had a conversation with police and he agreed to be transported by officers to the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter — a charity that helps homeless people located in the ByWard Market.

By the time police arrived at the shelter, the man was unresponsive, the release said. He was declared dead after paramedics treated him. 

Three investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the case, the SIU said. As of Saturday night, investigators were attempting to identify the deceased man.

Chris O'Gorman, communications manager for the Shepherds of Good Hope, said in a statement that there was a "serious incident" in front of the charity's shelter building on Saturday.

"Our staff and police discovered an individual en route to our shelter was deceased in the back of [a police] cruiser at approximately 12:30 p.m.," the statement said.

"Shepherds of Good Hope is working closely with the ... Special Investigations Unit. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of this individual."

The SIU is an independent civilian agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

"The objective of every SIU investigation is to determine whether there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the official," the SIU website reads.

No further information regarding the circumstances of the death has been released at this time. 

now