Quebec police watchdog investigating Puvirnituq woman’s death

Two women have died in Nunavik police custody this year

A Nunavik police vehicle is seen in this file photo, parked outside the courthouse in Puvirnituq. On Friday, a 39-year-old woman in the community died in police custody. (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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.

 

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Unacceptable on

    Something is wrong with the Quebec police. They obviously don’t care. Further evidence of Legault’s agenda. When will Canada separate from them?!
    Indigenous people aren’t safe there.

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    • Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

      IT IS ALCOHOL THAT IS DISTROYING PEOPLE HERE, NOT LEGAULTS.

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  2. Posted by DUMBFOUNDED!! on

    People are so quick to judge the police or to point the finger at the police for doing their jobs when arresting or detaining an intoxicated person(s) while they are out in public.
    The only person to blame is the individual who is intoxicated and who may be breaking the laws of canada and or the community by laws.
    If that person is intoxicated and they die in police custody, what is to say that this person could have or may have died at their home or any other place due to their intoxication.
    Or, if that person had a serious liquor problem, could it not be that their bodies were poisoned due to the abuse of drinking liquor on a daily, weekly and or monthly basis?
    The police are supposedly their to help protect the communities they are working in. Yes, there may be a couple of bad apples in the NPS, but not all police officers are bad. There are officers in most communities that do stay in the communities for years and they are still not respected by the Inuit of the communities.
    Do not judge all police.
    As we see on a daily basis (if you are a long term resident in a nunavik community) how bad most inuit are when they are extremely intoxicated.
    Yes, with intoxicated people (like myself), my form of suicide was to overdose on illegal drugs and or alcohol poisoning. I guess the inuit has not accepted this fact, that they could be attempting suicide by being intoxicated on a daily basis.
    Concerned

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