Witnesses recalled seeing the man speaking with officers without incident before they attempted to place him into a police van. Geoff Collins told the vehicle didn’t get far before they had to stop.
‘They drove down 30 metres, they pulled immediately down the side of the road and started doing CPR on him,’ he said. The Queensland Ambulance Service confirmed it was police officers who called paramedics, who arrived to find the man bleeding from cuts to his face and arms.
It remains unclear how he sustained those injuries.
Paramedics took over CPR but he was not able to be revived.
‘Initial information suggests the man began having trouble breathing after being placed in the rear of a police van,’ police said in a statement in the afternoon.
Some witnesses said the man was exposing himself before being arrested.
Police were not able to confirm reports he was a well-known homeless man who frequented the area.
‘I don’t think (there was) anything wrong with what the police did,’ witness Shaun Hyland told the Nine Network.
‘I feel sorry for them now.’
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart was reluctant to comment on the incident, having only received an initial briefing.
‘I probably shouldn’t comment any further other than to say that our normal process of Ethical Standards Command being involved and taking over the investigation has already commenced,’ he said.
‘Ethical Standards will provide the independent overview of the investigation that’s going on in relation to this death.’ Police said the coroner had been advised and a report would be prepared.