Video shows disputed confrontation between Yukon officer and suspect

Newly-released surveillance footage shows the 2016 arrest of Harry Kevin Kolasch. A court ruling that acquitted Kolasch of resisting arrest and is strongly critical of the arresting officer is being appealed by prosecutors.

A court ruling strongly critical of an RCMP officer is being appealed by prosecutors

RCMP Const. Chris Barr arrested Harry Kolasch outside the Whitehorse Superstore on Dec. 31, 2016. Kolasch was charged with resisting arrest but was later acquitted. (Territorial Court Exhibit)

Video surveillance footage newly obtained by CBC shows a disputed confrontation between a Whitehorse police officer and a man later acquitted on a charge of resisting arrest. 

The acquittal of Harry Kevin Kolasch will be appealed in Yukon Supreme Court in April.

Const. Chris Barr had been called in December 2016 to deal with Kolasch, who allegedly threw a cheeseburger at an employee at a McDonald's restaurant in Whitehorse and attempted to kick the restaurant manager.

Barr found Kolasch outside the nearby Superstore and arrested him.

During the arrest, Barr knocked Kolasch unconscious with one punch. He said the accused had reached for his gun.

But territorial court Judge Nancy Orr, in a strongly-worded decision last month, said Barr had acted hastily during the arrest.

She focused on the officer's actions when he first approached Kolasch.

Orr said surveillance video showed that, according to Barr's testimony, during a 40-second confrontation he approached Kolasch, called to him several times, grabbed him, pinned him to the hood of a car and then took him to the ground — during which there was no sign of Kolasch being violent or resisting.

"When you see this video, it is hard to believe that officer acted as he did. He gave Mr. Kolasch no opportunity to react or respond," said the judge.

She said the arrest was improper, and the force used excessive.

The Yukon office of the Public Prosecution Service appealed those findings. It's asking the Yukon Supreme Court to find the arrest was legal, the force was not excessive, and that Kolasch be found guilty of resisting arrest.

The appeal will be heard on April 25.