Woman's dad alleges police brutality in Canada Day clash
Father of woman accused of biting officer says police used excessive force
The father of a 20-year-old woman charged with biting a Winnipeg police officer on Monday night says the police's version of events is wrong.
On Tuesday, the Winnipeg Police Service said they are laying charges against the woman in connection with a clash with officers following Canada Day celebrations at The Forks.
Police allege that the woman struck a small child and nudged the child's father with her vehicle as it was inching along Waterfront Drive, which was crowded with people and vehicles trying to leave the area.
According to police, officers asked the driver to pull over and get out of the vehicle, but she allegedly refused and bit an officer who had reached into her vehicle to turn off the ignition.
As a result, the woman faces charges of assaulting a peace officer, failing to stop and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. As well, her 17-year-old sister faces one charge of obstruction of justice.
Shortly after the charges were announced, video footage of the incident appeared on Facebook, showing officers pulling a woman from the driver's side window of a Pontiac Sunfire, through what looks like broken glass.
A man in the background can be heard yelling, "You’re cutting her up!"
At one point, the woman’s head gets stuck on the window frame as two officers pull both her arms. Eventually they pull the woman from the vehicle and push her to the ground.
The area was full of people at the time. In the video, loud cheering can be heard when the woman hit the ground.
Woman didn't hit anyone with car, dad claims
The woman's father, who cannot be named because his 17-year-old daughter also faces a charge in connection with the incident, told CBC News he is outraged by what happened.
"My daughter did not strike anyone with her car," he said in an interview Wednesday from his home outside the city.
The father, who was not at the scene when the incident happened, claimed a person who would not move out of the way started hitting the hood of his daughter's car and broke her driver's door mirror.
He alleged that his daughter got out of her car to confront the man, but she was attacked by a woman he was with.
The woman then retreated to her car and was too frightened to comply with police when they showed up, according to her father.
"This lunatic attacked my daughter," he said.
The father accused police of using excessive force and breaking the driver's side window of his daughter's car.
As for the alleged bite, the father said his daughter bit the police officer in self-defence.
Could have been avoided: police union
Meanwhile, the union that represents Winnipeg police officers says the whole incident could have been avoided.
"Put members of the public at risk and put officers at risk — that is when certain decisions have to be made and we, without a doubt, will proceed with charges," said Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association.
"Be reasonable and comply, and then have a discussion and certainly state your case to the officer," he added. "But in terms of the necessity to conduct a physical attack, that's ridiculous."
On Tuesday, a police spokesperson said the incident was "an unfortunate situation" that was "handled extremely well by the officers directly involved."
But the woman's father said his family has been traumatized by what happened. His daughter was bruised and visited the hospital to get her injuries checked, he added.
The father said he has left messages for both Mayor Sam Katz and police Chief Devon Clunis, and he has contacted a lawyer.