BARRIE — A memorial has been set up on the spot where Orlando Brown was arrested on Friday.
The 32-year-old man was pronounced dead at hospital after an arrest by Barrie police officers.
The arrest and circumstances surrounding Brown's death are now under investigation by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault against police.
Brown was arrested on Friday at about 2:30 p.m., behind the Tim Hortons at the Five Points in downtown Barrie.
A bystander shot a cellphone video (see below) showing officers in a physical confrontation with Brown and using Tasers to subdue him.
One man who was standing by the memorial Sunday afternoon says he was a longtime friend of Brown and doesn’t understand how this type of thing happens in small-town Canada.
The man, who wanted to only be identified as Dee and who was unaware of the reason why police were looking for Brown, says that no matter what the reason, the 32-year-old didn’t deserve to die and he feels that at the very least, protocol wasn’t properly followed and believes someone needs to be held accountable.
“I knew him personally and he was a very kind person, like he would give the shirt off his back,” said Dee. “It's an unfortunate situation and he didn’t deserve it.
"To be honest with you, I don’t know the incident. All I know is apparently the cops came down on him when he was over there (behind the bushes behind Tim Hortons) and that’s the story," he added. "From that it was just Taser after Taser after Taser. I kind of had faith in the police here because this was supposed to only happen in America, not here.
"It shouldn’t happen anywhere, but you only see things like that on the U.S. news, but here especially in small-town, nice Canada, it's not right.”
A release by the Barrie police says a man went into medical distress while being booked.
"Paramedics arrived, provided first aid to the man and transported him to hospital. A short time later, he was pronounced dead,” says the release.
Dee is one of many who want to know why Brown was not taken to hospital first and looked at before being brought to booking.
“What is the protocol when you Taser someone and especially after that many? Why wasn’t he just taken to hospital for a check-up? He would have been in handcuffs, he wasn’t going anywhere and the police could have seen if he was OK and then processed him," he said. "I don’t care what a person’s criminal record is like or what you wanted them for, he shouldn’t have died."
While some may see the area where Brown was arrested as a 'bad area', Dee says he doesn’t want people looking at the spot as a trouble area, because it isn’t.
“There are never bad things happening here and people shouldn’t think that way because of this,” said Dee. “We come here and chill, talk about our day and that’s it. Then we go home. If there were any bad things happening then police would know because they’re by here all the time.
"But, now how we are supposed to feel when the cops come around and try to talk to us, how we supposed to trust them? It's unfortunate all around because a man died who didn’t deserve it and now people may start to feel uneasy," he said.
A vigil will be held at the spot on Monday at 6 p.m. for those who wish to pay respects to Brown.
Editor's note: The following video contains graphic images and language that may disturb some viewers.