Toronto

Inquest opens into death of man who struggled with police

An inquest looking into the death of a man who had a seizure and died after being pepper sprayed by Toronto police officers has heard the police version of events.

An inquest looking into the death of a man who had a seizure and died after being pepper sprayed by Toronto police officers has heard the police version of events.

Robert Walker, 41, died after a struggle with police in an incident that happened almost four years ago.
 
Officers said they were called to a rooming house where a man was threatening to kill people and clawing at his own skin.
 
They found Walker inside the house with blood covering his hands.
 
Walker stormed out the door, according to police, leading to a struggle on the street between Walker and police.
 
Several officers pepper sprayed him, which didn't seem to have any effect. They eventually managed to get him to the ground and handcuff him.
 
On the way to hospital, he suffered a seizure and his heart stopped.
 
A pathologist found Walker died of a cocaine overdose.
 
Tom Walker, Robert Walker's brother, wants the inquiry to result in changes in police training. 
 
"We offer them a gun, a stick and pepper spray, and now we're throwing a Taser in there," Walker said from outside the inquest.

"I don't think we offer enough crisis de-escalation skills, I don't think we offer different ways of communicating with someone who's in a psychotic episode."

The inquest could last two weeks.