22 Dec 2008

Man found dead in Whakatane police cells

5:30 pm on 22 December 2008

Whakatane police are investigating the death of a Spanish man in their cells.

Francisco Javier De Larratea Soler, 43, was found dead during a routine cell check at the police station at 5.20pm on Friday.

Earlier this year, four Whakatane police officers were cleared of assault charges after a man was pepper-sprayed and hit with a baton.

Eastern Bay of Plenty area commander, Inspector Steve Bullock, says Mr Soler was picked up at 11.30am after members of the community reported him.

Mr Bullock says Mr Soler did not show any signs of needing hospital care when he was picked up.

He says toxicology samples have been taken to determine the cause of death.

He says the investigation will be reviewed by the coroner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority.