A 33-year-old man has died after Sherbrooke police arrested and pepper-sprayed him early Saturday morning while they were responding to a call for an altercation in front of a business.
Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), is investigating the circumstances surrounding the man's death and the police interaction.
According to the account provided by Sherbrooke police to the BEI, officers were called at around 6:15 a.m. for a fight that was happening outside a local business, though it did not specify the location.
When officers arrived, the BEI said in a statement, one of the two men in the alleged altercation ran away.
According to the statement, one of the officers ran after the man and caught up to him. The officer used pepper spray "in order to subdue him," the statement says. Once "subdued," he lost consciousness, the statement reads.
The man was taken to hospital, where he died a few hours later.
Eight BEI investigators are in charge of the probe. The watchdog is also seeking assistance from Quebec provincial police, which will provide a forensics specialist to help out.
The first step of any BEI investigation is to determine if the preliminary information is accurate. The BEI steps in whenever someone is killed or injured during a police operation.
Anyone who witnessed the event is being asked to contact the BEI.