Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht has asked the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team to review a complaint from a man who alleges three officers used excessive force while arresting him Sunday night.
Sammy Sobieh, 60, lodged a complaint with the Professional Standards Branch of Edmonton Police. He also turned over security video of the arrest at his Norwood-area meat shop which he says shows how he was mistreated by police.
"They just beat the shit out of me for no reason," Sobieh said.
Investigators from the Professional Standards Branch interviewed Sobieh and several witnesses on Thursday. Police will not comment on the case now that the ASIRT investigation is underway.
Officer strikes man four times
Police were called to a weapons complaint at Top Meat Wholesale Cash and Carry in the area of 92nd Street and 110A Sunday evening.
The incident started when Sobieh confronted a man in the alley, who he says assaulted one of his employees three days earlier. On the video, Sobieh is seen holding, but never raising, a metal tool used in his meat shop. The man then called police.
Sobieh goes back inside his shop, leaves the tool inside, and comes back outside twice. No violence takes place.
On the video, three officers enter what looks like the storage area of the meat business. Sobieh raises his hands in the air, then turns around and walks away.
The officers pull Sobieh to the ground, then attempt to restrain and handcuff him. At one point, one of the officers strikes Sobieh four times on the back. Another officer kicks him in the arm.
Once Sobieh is handcuffed on the ground, one of the officers brings his knee down on his back.
The video has no sound so there is no record of what was being said while the arrest was underway.
"I followed the order," Sobieh said. "Man, the guy just kicked me, knocked me down on the floor, kicked me right here. I have a big bruise here from his boot."
Force not justified, lawyer says
Sobieh was not the aggressor, according to Brenda Muzylowski, who watched the incident between Sobieh and the man in the alley from her apartment window.
"He's not doing anything," she said. "He's kind of stepping back and every time he steps back, this young punk steps forward. But [the young man] keeps yelling on his phone that he's the one who's in danger."
CBC News showed the video to Brian Hurley, the former president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.
"This is quite shocking, frankly," he said.
Hurley said he sees nothing on the video that could justify the force police used against Sobieh.
"He's not resisting. He doesn't have a weapon. He hasn't done anything violent," Hurley said.
Sobieh is charged with assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon and uttering threats.