A NSW man who died in custody after being tasered was reportedly battling an addiction to ice and had been on a bender.
Police officers used capsicum spray and then a Taser to subdue 38-year-old Kevin Norris at a McDonald’s restaurant in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands on Sunday night.
The roof tiler was then taken to Bowral police station where he later slumped to the ground and died.
His brother says he had just started turning his life around.
But Mr Norris’s girlfriend said he was addicted to ice, and had been on a bender in the days running up to his sudden death.
“Off that drug he was so beautiful it wasn’t funny,” she told the Seven Network.
“He looked after me so well.”
She told the Nine Network he had been on a three day ice binge and threatened to kill her before he left their house, ending up at the nearby McDonald’s.
Mr Norris’s younger brother, David, criticised the police tactics used.
“I don’t think the sort of punishment he got was appropriate,” David told AAP.
“I’ve lost all respect for police officers.”
Mr Norris had just moved to Mittagong from Gunning, about 130km away, to be with his girlfriend who lived near the restaurant.
“He had problems his whole life, mixing with the wrong crowd,” David said.
“But a couple of years ago he started getting his life back on track and doing well for himself.
“He was working every day, got a licence, got his first car.”
Police firstly received a call about a nearby domestic incident on Sunday and were then called to the McDonald’s after reports of a man being troublesome and disruptive.
Up to five police officers went to the restaurant with two sustaining minor injuries from a physical altercation.
“Police … used capsicum spray and eventually had to Taser the man to get control of him,” Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys said.
Mr Norris was handcuffed at the restaurant and was conscious when he arrived at the police station, Mr Worboys said.
Police and ambulance officers tried to resuscitate him after he collapsed but were unsuccessful.
Mr Worboys said CCTV would form an important part of the investigation as there weren’t many witnesses.
“There’s no doubt there will be footage from the fast food restaurant, indeed the police station,” he said.
An autopsy is expected to be carried out in the next couple of days.
“It is a tragic set of circumstances and our thoughts go out to his family and friends,” Mr Worboys said.
“And also to the two police officers who are recuperating.”
After initially stating Mr Norris had not been known to police, a spokesperson informed the media on Monday afternoon they had actually had previous contact with him.
A critical incident investigation has been launched.