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Crime

Man dead after downtown Edmonton encounter with police: ASIRT

WATCH ABOVE: (From July 1, 2019) Alberta's police watchdog is investigating an incident involving police that occurred in Edmonton on Friday night in which a man went into medical distress. Sarah Kraus reports.

A 43-year-old man who went into medical distress during an encounter with police officers in downtown Edmonton on Friday has died, according to Alberta’s police watchdog.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) issued a news release on Tuesday afternoon, saying the man died in hospital — surrounded by family — on Monday night.

On Monday, ASIRT confirmed it was probing the incident. A 27-minute video of the encounter was posted to Facebook by a witness, who told Global News he believed the man who encountered police appeared to him to be “pretty confused.”

“[Police] didn’t tell him, like, ‘You’re arrested. You’re being detained,'” Dylon McLemore told Global News on Monday. “They just dragged him to the ground.”

The video appears to show a man standing on a sidewalk between two officers before he appears to be dragged onto a yard in front of an apartment building and tackled to the ground.

McLemore said that at one point he saw the man get kneed by an officer.

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At one point in the video, someone is heard saying they are “suffocating” before another voice is heard saying: “No, you’re not.”

A few seconds later, someone is heard yelling: “Help!”

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Later in the video, the man is brought to a police vehicle, and McLemore said it looked to him as though an officer began performing CPR on the man. McLemore said an ambulance then came and the man was taken away by paramedics.

The incident unfolded shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Friday.

On Tuesday, ASIRT offered some details from its preliminary investigation.

“EPS (Edmonton Police Service) officers responded to a complaint that a man had started a number of small fires in the area of 100 Avenue and 114 Street,” the ASIRT news release said. “Officers located the man on the east side of 114 Street, walking northbound.

“When officers placed the man under arrest for arson, a physical struggle ensued.”

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READ MORE: Alberta police watchdog probing Edmonton incident in which man went into medical distress

According to ASIRT, police realized the man had gone into medical distress as they were carrying him to the police van.

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“He was removed from the police vehicle and officers performed CPR until EMS arrived and provided immediate emergency medical attention and transport to hospital,” the watchdog said.

Global News reached out to the EPS for comment but the police department declined.

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