Charges will not be laid against three Edmonton police officers accused of using excessive force in an arrest at a meat shop even though the civilian agency that investigated the complaint believed that an offence had likely taken place.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team or ASIRT announced on Monday that the officers would not face any criminal charges in the arrest of Elsayad [Sammy] Sobieh, 61, at Top Meat Wholesale Cash and Carry on Aug. 28, 2011.

While ASIRT executive director Clifton Purvis said there were "reasonable and probable grounds" to believe an offence had been committed, the Calgary Crown prosecutors' office didn't think there was reasonable likelihood of conviction


Sobieh was charged in the incident. Last week, the Crown issued a stay of proceedings on all three charges. (CBC)

"Although the police are entitled, and ASIRT is entitled to lay charges, ultimately it is the responsibility of the prosecution service to determine which cases to bring to court," said Greg Lepp, the assistant deputy minister of justice.

Purvis said that the Crown uses a higher standard when evaluating evidence.

"You heard Mr. Lepp describe how he came to the conclusion he did," Purvis said. "Whether I agree with it or not, his role is different. I respect his decision and will comply with it."

Charges dropped against shop owner

Sobieh faced three charges including assault with a weapon. The Crown directed a stay of proceedings on all three charges on Oct. 16th.

Sobieh handed over store security video documenting the arrest when he laid a complaint with the professional standards branch of the Edmonton police.

Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht then turned the matter over to the Alberta Serious Incident Response team.

The incident started when Sobieh confronted a man in the alley, who he alleges assaulted one of his employees three days earlier.

On the video, Sobieh can be seen holding, but never raising, a metal hook used in his meat shop. The man in the alley then called police.

The three officers are later seen entering what looks like the storage area of the meat shop. Sobieh raises his hands and then walks away.

The officers then pull Sobieh to the ground and attempt to restrain him. At one point, one of the officers strikes the shop owner four times on the back. Another kicks him in the arm.

After Sobieh is handcuffed, one of the officers brings his knee down on his back. 

Sobieh says he had heavy blood in his urine for six days after the attack.

"I can't believe this happens in Canada," he said on Monday. "I can't."