Toronto

Barrie police arrest of man who died 'a short time later' caught on video

Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a 32-year-old man died shortly after a violent arrest last week in Barrie, Ont., part of which was filmed by witnesses.

32-year-old went into 'medical distress' after altercation with officers

A police officer can be seen repeatedly Tasering the man in one of the videos of the arrest that is circulating online. (Brooke/YouTube)

Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a 32-year-old Barrie man died following a violent arrest last week, part of which was filmed by at least one witness. 

A video uploaded online shows the man being repeatedly Tasered, physically subdued and arrested by officers.

According to a news release from the Special Investigations Unit, the incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on June 22.

He was then taken to a Barrie police station for processing, where he "went into medical distress." Paramedics treated him and took him to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, where he died of his injuries a "short time later," the SIU said.

Barrie police said in their own news release that it cannot provide any comment on the incident because the SIU has invoked its mandate to investigate. The release did not elaborate on why the man was arrested or what charges he may have faced. 

"I recognize that this tragic incident is difficult for our community. Legislation prevents the Barrie Police Service from speaking to the event or circumstances leading up to the incident," the force's chief, Kimberley Greenwood, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Greenwood said officers began first aid "immediately" when it became clear that the man was having a medical emergency and that they contacted paramedics.

Neither the SIU nor Barrie police have identified the man. 

One video of the altercation between the man and police was uploaded to YouTube. It's been watched more than 30,000 times.

In the video, a bystander can be heard criticizing the police officers as two of them struggle with the man, eventually wrestling him to the ground. In a separate video that appears to be captured from a different angle, a third officer joins the arrest at one point. 

The day after the man died, the union that represents Barrie police officers said in a tweet, "A tragic incident for all involved occurred in Barrie yesterday. We stand behind our members 100%."

The SIU is an arm's-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story reported that the SIU said the man was "repeatedly Tasered, physically subdued and arrested," when in fact the SIU news release said only that the man was "arrested" and "transported to the police station."
    Jun 27, 2018 6:54 AM ET