Man dies after ‘interaction’ with Vancouver police

B.C.’s police watchdog is investigating after a man died in police custody Monday. Witnesses say he was shot with a beanbag gun by Vancouver police officers. Crystal Laderas reports.

B.C.’s police watchdog has been called in after a man died following what the VPD says was an “interaction” with officers on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Monday morning.

The VPD says officers were called to the area of East Hastings and Dunlevy Avenue just before 8 a.m. “after a man was seen acting erratically.”

After being taken into custody, police say the man “went into medical distress and lost consciousness.” He died at the scene.

Vancouver police have confirmed the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIOBC) is now looking into the matter.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, VPD Sgt. Steve Addison confirmed a “bean bag shotgun was deployed” during the incident.

“A bean bag shotgun is a tool that’s carried by specially trained and experienced officers. It’s used generally as an intermediate weapon when people are non-compliant and displaying some sort of violent behaviour, when it’s really inappropriate to use a lower level of force, when verbal commands aren’t appropriate or have failed and when lower levels of force are not appropriate,” he explained.

According to the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), the man was “naked, bear-maced, and screaming for help.” VANDU claims the man was “pouring milk on himself as VPD arrived on site.”

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On Monday, Downtown Eastside residents were seen standing outside, shouting and swearing at police.

“Shame on you!” one person shouted.

“You’re supposed to protect citizens!” said another.

“Do your job, IIO! Investigate this s***!” someone else yelled.

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