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Man found dead in police custody, ASIRT investigation underway

Last Updated Oct 26, 2020 at 6:42 am MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – Alberta’s police watchdog is investigating after a man was found dead while in police custody inside a Calgary prison cell this week.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is looking into the circumstances surrounding the death that occurred at Spyhill Services Centre on Oct. 23.

According to a release from the Calgary Police Service (CPS), police took the man into custody earlier that day near the Marlborough CTrain Station. They were there following reports of a man in possession of an airsoft gun.

Police say the individual was “cooperative,” and the arrest was incident-free and caught on officers’ body cameras.

The release said the man was charged with breach-related offences and taken to Spyhill Services Centre. He was allegedly cleared by a doctor before being moved to a holding cell.

“At 8 p.m., during a routine check of the cells, the man was eating his meal, however at the next check, the man was found unresponsive in his cell,” read the emailed CPS release. “Despite significant lifesaving efforts, the man was pronounced dead at approximately 8:40 p.m.”

Police said they are up to date regarding in-custody care but they will be reviewing their methods following the incident “out of an abundance of caution.”