Ontario’s police watchdog has invoked its mandate to investigate the circumstances after a man was found unresponsive in an Ottawa police station holding cell on Tuesday night.
The Special Investigations Unit, Ontario’s independent agency tasked with probing police-involved deaths and violence, said Wednesday it has dispatched three investigators to work on the case of a 49-year-old Ottawa man who died after being arrested on Tuesday.
The SIU said in a statement that Ottawa police executed a drug warrant at a home on Carling Avenue at 4:45 p.m.
A man was arrested at the home and taken to a holding cell in a local police station, the SIU said.
At roughly 9:30 p.m., the man was found unresponsive, SIU said, prompting a call for emergency medical services.
The man subsequently lost vital signs and was declared dead in hospital shortly after 10 p.m., according to the release.
The SIU said a post-mortem is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Ottawa Police Service confirmed the investigation in a brief statement Wednesday morning but said any further information on the probe will come through the SIU.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the SIU at 1-800-787-8529 or to upload any video evidence to the police watchdog’s website.