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B.C. man who was injured in 'combative' arrest has died: Police watchdog

B.C.'s police watchdog looking to speak with 5 specific witnesses
The IIO has cleared Surrey RCMP of any wrongdoing after a woman died in custody earlier this year. (File photo)

A man who was seriously injured and lost consciousness after a "combative" arrest with Dawson Creek RCMP is dead.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. said the man died Friday, the day after his arrest, according to an information bulletin Monday (June 24).

B.C. RCMP said Friday that Dawson Creek officers were called for a complaint of people in possession of firearms and bear spray near 8 Street and 104 Avenue on Thursday, around 8 a.m. The officers took three people into custody, but one man ran away and police chased after him until he was apprehended outside a convenience store in the 800-block of 105 Avenue.

The suspect was alleged to have been "combative" with police during the arrest, and shortly after being taken into custody he "went into medical distress and lost consciousness," police said. 

B.C. RCMP said officers got paramedics on scene to help and "initiated life saving measures." He was later taken to hospital and is in critical condition. Four officers were injured, with three of them needing medical attention. 

Now, B.C.'s police watchdog is looking for additional witnesses who were by the convenience store, A 7-Eleven, on Thursday and saw the incident between the man and police. The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is looking for five specific witnesses:

• A man who was wearing sunglasses, an orange or yellow baseball hat, a red shirt with "possibly a blue shirt underneath," a dark leather jacket and blue jeans.

• A man with shoulder-length hair and a moustache, who was wearing a black baseball hat, a dark-coloured shirt, with a tan or beige button overshirt/jacket and dark-coloured pants or jeans. He also has a pair of glasses on his hat, and another pair hanging from his shirt. 

• A man with a goatee, who was wearing glasses, a dark-coloured "dry goods prod" shirt with a dark-coloured, unzipped hoodie and dark pants or jeans. He was driving a red Ford pickup truck. 

• A man with short, brown hair and a clean-shaven face. He was wearing a black or dark-coloured T-shirt and dark jeans or pants. He was driving a red Nissan pickup truck, with "body-matched bumpers" and a hard canopy. 

• A man wearing a dark-coloured baseball hat, with sunglasses on top, a long-sleeved, light-coloured striped buttoned shirt and blue jeans. He was driving a silver Ford Explorer. 

The police watchdog says the drivers of the vehicles may have been from either B.C. or Alberta. 

Two witnesses have already responded to IIO's initial release. IIO is asking any witnesses that haven't already provided a statement, or have video footage, to call the witness line at 1-855-446-8477.

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