Man alleges West Edmonton Mall security used excessive force at waterpark party

A Calgary man who attended an adult DJ event at West Edmonton Mall’s waterpark alleges he was subjected to excessive force by a mall security guard and wrongfully locked up for hours in only his swim trunks.

Adrian Cornwell says he suffered a black eye when a security guard tackled and handcuffed him

Adrian Cornwell stands outside of West Edmonton Mall’s World Waterpark. He says the bruising and scrapes on his right eye were suffered when a security guard tackled him to the floor and handcuffed him at a Friday party in the waterpark. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

A Calgary man who attended an adult DJ event at West Edmonton Mall's waterpark alleges he was subjected to excessive force by a mall security guard, and wrongfully locked up for hours in only his swim trunks.

Adrian Cornwell, 22, was attending the March 16 Soundwave EDM music event, billed as World Waterpark's "wildest indoor beach party." At around 12:30 a.m., he left his identification and cellphone with his younger brother so he could go use the washrooms in the waterpark locker rooms.

Cornwall said he asked a security guard if he could use the washrooms and was told he could not. He said he started to return to the pool when the same security guard told him he needed his ID to do so.

Frustrated, he said he tried to run past a security guard to go get his ID but said he only got a few steps before the guard tackled and handcuffed him, his face hitting the ground in the process.

A photo of swelling on Adrian Cornwell’s face was taken after he was released from West Edmonton Mall on March 17. (Adrian Cornwell)

On Wednesday, four days after the alleged incident, Cornwall had a scrape, swelling and green bruising around his right eye.

"He didn't need to use as much force. He didn't need to be so unreasonable," Cornwell said.

After he was handcuffed, Cornwall said, security guards escorted him to the mall's holding cells, told him he would be charged with trespassing and said he would have to remain locked up until Edmonton police arrived.

He estimates he spent more than two hours locked up in the room.

After police arrived, he was escorted out of the building and into a cruiser, where he was asked to explain what happened. Afterwards, he was told he was free to go without any charges being laid.

Cornwell was still in his swim trunks, without his phone or identification. With the officers' assistance, he contacted his brother at around 3 a.m.

On Thursday, the Edmonton Police Service confirmed it is investigating use of force by West Edmonton Mall security in relation to the incident. Cornwell has not yet filed an official complaint with the mall.

Cornwell said he thinks the force used by the security officer was excessive and that he was wrongfully detained in the holding cells.

"I would like that guy to not have his job," he said. "He shouldn't have a job like that.

"They can't hold you in a cell. They're security guards. They're supposed to escort you off the premises. They're supposed to be there for your safety."

Reached on Wednesday, a West Edmonton Mall spokesperson confirmed there had been an incident but declined to comment on any details. The spokesperson also declined to share security footage with CBC News.

Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca

@Travismcewancbc