Investigation launched after man dies in police custody in Flanders

Investigation launched after man dies in police custody in Flanders
The man died shortly after he was put in a cell in Dendermonde. Credit: Google Street View

An investigation has been launched after a man in his thirties died in unclear circumstances while in the custody of police in the city of Dendermonde.

The public prosecutor of East Flanders and the oversight police body Committee P will jointly investigate the circumstances around the death of the 36-year-old man, identified as JC.

The local police zone responded to a call about a man who was behaving aggressively in the municipality of Lebbeke, near Dendermonde, with a number of media reports indicating that he called the emergency services himself.

Officers decided to take the man into custody, believing him to be under the influence of drugs. Shortly after being put in a cell in a Dendermonde police station, he collapsed and died after a failed attempt to resuscitate him.

“The precise circumstances of the death are being investigated,” An Schoonjan, press representative of the East Flemish prosecutor, told HLN, adding that no further information could be provided with the investigation ongoing.

In an open letter sent to Flemish media, the man’s sister said JC had substance abused issues but stressed that he did not wish to end his life. The letter goes on to say that the family want to know whether JC failed to receive help when he needed it.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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