Man dies in police custody in Nisga'a capital, IIO investigating
Investigators from B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office are seen in this file photo from the IIO.
VANCOUVER -- A man died after engaging in self-harm and being shot with a Taser during an arrest in the Nisga'a capital of Gitlaxt'aamiks Tuesday night, RCMP said Thursday.
British Columbia's police watchdog is now investigating to determine whether the arresting officers' actions or inaction contributed to the man's death.
In a news release, BC RCMP said officers from the Nass Valley detachment were called to the 4300 block of Monroe Street in Gitlaxt'aamiks just before 8 p.m. In their release, police referred to the village by its former name, New Aiyansh.
The call was the result of a report of an altercation between two men who knew each other. One man had stabbed the other, police said.
When officers arrived, the victim of the stabbing had already been taken to a local medical clinic for treatment, and the suspect "was being calmed by neighbours," according to RCMP.
The suspect began harming himself before officers could take him into custody, police said. They added that, in an effort to take the man into custody, one of the officers used a Taser on him, and a struggle ensued.
With the help of several civilians, officers were able to take the man into custody, police said. They then transported the man to the local clinic in their police vehicle, because BC Emergency Health Services was not readily available, RCMP said.
Despite efforts to save his life, the man died at the clinic. B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office is now looking into the incident, and the BC Coroners Service is also investigating.
The IIO is a civilian police oversight agency that investigates all incidents resulting in death or serious harm in B.C. during which police are present, regardless of whether there is an allegation of wrongdoing on the part of police.