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Duncan man dies after afternoon in police custody

RCMP logo. - RCMP
RCMP logo.
— image credit: RCMP

Oak Bay police are conducting an independent review of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP after a man was discovered in medical distress in his cell at the local detachment, and died the next day in hospital.

The man, a 37-year-old from Duncan, was picked up by local Mounties shortly after 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The man was reportedly passed out in a public area of downtown Duncan, and had declined assistance from paramedics shortly before police arrived.

The officers tracked the man down a short distance from where he’d walked away from the paramedics, and he was arrested without incident for causing a disturbance.

“He was transported to the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment where he was lodged in cells, slated for release once sober,” said a statement released by Cpl. Darren Lagan.

“The man was cooperative with police throughout his arrest and time in custody.”

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the on-duty guard found the man in medical distress.

The man was taken by B.C. Ambulance Service to Cowichan District Hospital, and then transferred to Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital.

He died shortly before noon on Sunday.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.

“In keeping with the RCMP’s commitment to external review of such cases, the Oak Bay Police Service will conduct a review of the circumstances related to this death,” the statement reads. “The B.C. Coroners Service is also conducting an investigation, standard in cases where a death occurs in close proximity to a period of police custody.”

Police say no further details will be released at this time, while the review is underway.

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