El-Yamni was arrested at 2.30am on New Year’s Eve near a supermarket in Clermont-Ferrand, French daily Le Parisien reports. Police say his behaviour was out of control and that he was throwing objects at police officers.
Tests later revealed he had consumed alcohol, cannabis and cocaine.
The police chased the 30-year-old man, pined him down and hand-cuffed him. On his way to the police station El-Yamni had a heart attack and went into a coma, according to police accounts.
He died on Monday evening after being in a coma for several days.
Emergency workers who arrived at the police station have reported wounds on El-Yamni’s neck and his medical history shows he didn’t have a known heart condition. The authorities have opened an investigation into whether the police used excessive force during El-Ymani’s arrest.
Tensions were rising in Clermont-Ferrand’s poorest neighbourhoods over the weekend. Several dozen cars were burned and hundreds of residents gathered for a silent march on Saturday. Many young people from Clermont-Ferrand joined the demonstration, which ended in front of the police station.
They held a banner saying “Nobody is above the law, stop police violence, we’re with you Wissam.”