Calgary police are now investigating the circumstances around a video posted March 16 on the internet that some say show security guards using excessive force.


Officials from Chinook Centre say they are taking the matter very seriously. (Daryl Mitchell/Flickr)

The video at Chinook Centre shows a group of five guards taking down Daniel Doussept, who was later taken into custody by Calgary police and released.

None of the security guards were taken into custody.

No charges have been laid, but police say they plan to look into what lead to the take down and the altercation itself. 

Doussept said he was approached in the mall by a security guard for sitting on an escalator for the ride down.

He stood up and got off the escalator, but was asked to leave the mall.

Altercation ensues outside

Doussept said he felt he was being unfairly judged, and the conversation turned "heated" so he decided to leave.

He said after tossing out his coffee in a garbage can outside he raised his hand to wave goodbye when two security guards came towards him.

The two guards were joined by three others, and one guard appears to throw punches while four others pin him to the ground. Doussept said he was struggling to protect himself from being injured.

"There was one guy who was putting his elbow or knee in the back of my head," he said.

Doussept said he has scrapes on his forehead and cheek following the scuffle, and his shoulder — which was previously injured in an accident more than a year ago — is sore.

He said he is still considering his next step, but felt some of the security guards took the situation past just restraining him and used excessive force.

"Some were acting accordingly, restraining not beating," said Doussept. "But I don't forgive all of them."

Mall taking the matter 'very seriously'

Chinook Centre issued a statement Monday saying they are taking the matter very seriously.

"We are troubled by the behaviours depicted in the video footage and as a result we are looking into the details of the situation and will take disciplinary action as required," the statement says.

Tremaine Lea, the photographer who took the YouTube video of the altercation, will be on the Calgary Eyeopener Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. MT.

"Given that the matter is now under investigation by the Calgary Police Service we cannot provide further comment."

The video has garnered more than 4,000 views on YouTube and had close to 200 comments as of Monday afternoon.

The footage was captured by photographer Tremaine Lea, who took the video "on instinct."

"I was initially struck by the fact there were three guards pinning down a single guy, which seemed a bit excessive," he said in an email. "As the scene unfolded, more guards jumped in and the level of violence increased. I had to keep shooting because what I was seeing was just wrong, and I felt there should be a record of it."

Expert speaks to 'fine line'

The problem with the video is that there is no confirmation on what happened before the scuffle, said longtime police officer turned security consultant Tim Houghton.

He says that information would be able to clarify whether the guards acted reasonably.

"It's really difficult. It's a very, very fine line," said Houghton.

Just this month, the federal government expanded its laws on citizen arrests. Houghton says he expects to see more security guards attempt them.

But Linda McKay-Panos, a civil rights expert, questions whether the government should regulate the use of force by private security guards.

"The security guards, the only answer they have on a private property would be an assault charge, right? And the police, if they did the same thing, not only would they get an assault charge, they would also be disciplined and they could also be subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she said.

Warning: video contains graphic language and images