Alberta Health Services has apologized to an aboriginal man's family after security officers at a Calgary hospital punched and beat him late last year as they tried to arrest him.
Bronson Crowchild, 23, alleges he was the victim of racial profiling when security guards working for AHS confronted him at Alberta Children's Hospital in the early morning of Dec. 30th after he had visited his sister, who had a heart transplant and is now suffering from a rare form of cancer.
Crowchild was waiting for his mother in the hospital's entrance when two male security officers approached him, demanding he leave the hospital, he said.
One of the officers said to him they get "people like him all the time" trying to warm up inside the hospital's entrance, Crowchild told CBC News.
After initially refusing to tell officers why he was at the hospital, Crowchild said he eventually told the officers he was waiting for his mother. He then left the hospital.
The confrontation escalated outside the hospital, according to Crowchild.
'They started to punch me with closed fists.' —Bronson Crowchild
He admits to swearing at the officers, and even spitting on the ground.
After that, the officers grabbed him and threw him to the ground, Crowchild alleges.
Crowchild resisted as the officers' attempted to arrest him, he said.
"They started to punch me with closed fists," he said.
"They were punching me in the back of my elbows, in the back of my neck. They were grabbing my ankles and smashing my knees into the concrete."
"I was holding my hands underneath my chest because I was afraid they were going to beat me more," Crowchild said.
"Then one of the officers grabbed my hair. He grabbed my braid... he grabbed me by the top of my braid and he pulled my head back off the ground and he pushed it abruptly into the concrete. Pushed my face right into the cement."
Crowchild was later arrested by Calgary Police and charged with common assault.
He was released by CPS officers at the hospital with a promise to appear in court on the charges.
His mother, Carmel Crowchild, was also threatened with arrest that night, according to Crowchild.
She believes security officers confronted him "because of his braids, because he's an Indian guy."
The incident was captured on security video.
In a letter written to Carmel Crowchild, dated Jan. 24, the head of protective and parking services for AHS, Ed Yoemans, offers a "heartfelt apology for the unfortunate interaction."
The letter goes on to note that an AHS internal investigation concluded there "was no physical evidence to support that Bronson spit at or on the Protective Services officer."
"We sincerely regret the poor communication that occurred in this instance and the resulting physical confrontation," Yoemans wrote in the letter. "It is disappointing when our staff do not meet the high standard set for conflict resolution."
Both Brosnon and Carmel Crowchild said the letter proves the confrontation and subsequent arrest were unnecessary.
Crowchild said he has complained to the Alberta's Human Rights Commission about the incident.
Yoemans said he had forwarded the findings of the internal investigation to Calgary police.