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Man dead following Winnipeg police response to 'domestic-related' incident

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Winnipeg police have handed over an investigation to Manitoba's police watchdog after a man died in hospital a day after officers restrained him while responding to a domestic call in the city's Crestview neighbourhood.

Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth confirmed a 35-year-old man died Saturday night in hospital following what police described as a domestic-related incident. Police have notified the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) about the death.

Smyth said a woman called police just after midnight on Friday leading into the early morning hours of Saturday. Smyth said the woman, calling from an apartment complex on Fairlane Avenue, told police her boyfriend was intoxicated.

"She was worried about her toddler and her two infants that were in the suite at the time," Smyth said. "There was a lot of yelling, a lot of commotion in the background and reports of windows being smashed."

Police said the woman was able to escape the suite unharmed. None of the three children were injured.

About 10 minutes later, Smyth said the woman called police again and reported that her boyfriend had fallen down the stairs from their second-floor suite and was lying in the snow at the bottom of the stairs. Smyth said another caller told police the man had wandered into the parking lot and collapsed.

Smyth said the first officers arrived around 12:23 a.m. with other officers arriving minutes later.

"The officers who arrived, they restrained in the male when they arrived on scene and as they were escorting him to cruiser car he became unresponsive," Smyth said, saying police called for an ambulance and performed CPR.

When asked if there had been any physical altercation between the man and police, Smyth would not say what led up to it.

"I know that our officers chose to restrain the male when they encountered him in the parking lot. And by restrain, I mean handcuff," he said. "Certainly, they'll account for why they did that and what occurred leading up to that, but that will be up to IIU to determine that."

Smyth said he was informed Sunday morning that the man had died in hospital, and officially notified the IIU of the death shortly after. He said the IIU will try to determine what the cause of the man's death was.

CTV News had reached out to police about the incident Saturday afternoon, and was told only it was a domestic-related incident. No details were provided at the time as to an arrest or hospitalization.

When asked Sunday why police did not provide more details, Smyth said it hadn't risen to a level requiring an IIU notification.

"In this case, it really was the death that triggered the IIU jurisdiction taking over. Because he was transported to a hospital, we gave IIU the heads up," he said, adding he has been in contact with the man's family.

"The police will engage with IIU as soon as possible, so that the family gets answers about what caused the death."

CTV News has reached out to the IIU for more details. 

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