Quebec police watchdog investigating Puvirnituq woman’s death
Two women have died in Nunavik police custody this year
Updated on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at 1 p.m.
Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating after a woman in Puvirnituq died in Nunavik Police Service custody Friday evening.
The Bureau of Independent Investigations, which probes deaths and injuries when police are involved, announced its investigation in a news release late Friday.
According to the release, officers from the Nunavik Police Service arrested a 39-year-old woman in Puvirnituq around 5:45 p.m. for allegedly violating a municipal bylaw.
“At around 7:15 p.m., the woman was reportedly found unconscious in her cell,” the release said.
The woman was pronounced dead shortly afterward. Five bureau investigators were tasked with investigating the circumstances of the event.
“No further information is available at this time,” the release said.
The bureau is asking anyone with information regarding this incident to get in touch with investigators through its website at www.bei.gouv.qc.ca/nous-joindre.
Nunavik police declined comment.
“Unfortunately, in those situations, the investigation is automatically transferred to the bureau,” Jean-Francois Morin, Nunavik police’s deputy chief, wrote in an email to Nunatsiaq News.
“All media requests should be addressed to them.”
This is the second time this year that the bureau has investigated the death of a woman in Nunavik police custody.
In March, the bureau looked into the death of a 33-year-old woman in Akulivik, who was arrested by Nunavik police for allegedly being intoxicated on a public street.
She was found unconscious in her cell hours after being taken into custody and was later pronounced dead, the bureau said in a March 4 news release.
She was later identified by her family as Louisa Qiluqi.
The bureau closed that investigation in July and sent the file to the office of Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions. On Monday, that office confirmed no decision has been made on possible charges.
NOTE: This story was updated to note no decision regarding the death in Akulivik has been made yet by the director of criminal and penal prosecutions.