Arrest and death of man in Inuit village investigated by Quebec's police watchdog

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This photograph, taken by a witness in Kuujjuarapik, shows citizens as they helped the man who had been lying in the snow outside the police station. (Submitted by Linda Kowcharlie - image credit)
This photograph, taken by a witness in Kuujjuarapik, shows citizens as they helped the man who had been lying in the snow outside the police station. (Submitted by Linda Kowcharlie - image credit)

Quebec's police watchdog has opened an investigation into the death of a man who had been found outside a police station in Kuujjuarapik, a remote community in Nunavik.

The 41-year-old man was taken into custody by officers of the Eeyou Eenou police department on the night of April 20 for allegedly breaking a bylaw, according to a statement by the oversight body, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI).

The man was released the following day around noon. Witnesses told Radio-Canada they saw him lying in the snow outside the police station for about an hour after his release.

The witnesses said officers were aware of the man lying outside, but did not do anything. The witnesses said they helped the man instead.

The Eeyou Eenou police department told Radio-Canada the man was seen around 9 p.m. on the day of his release, seemingly in good condition.

Police said the man was later found seriously injured on the night of April of 21, and then rushed to a hospital in Montreal. He died in Montreal on April 26.

The BEI said they will investigate the circumstances both around the man's detention and his death.

Kuujjuarapik is an Inuit village of around 700 people. Whapmagoostui, a Cree community of 1,000 people, is adjacent.