Edmonton police cleared in 'open beer' arrest which landed woman in hospital

No charges will be laid against Edmonton police after a 22-year-old woman’s elbow was broken during the arrest of a mother, daughter and a beer-drinking man on Whyte Avenue last year.

The woman ran towards an officer and attempted to open a marked prisoner transport van

The 22-year-old woman was arrested after a man in her group was spotted with an open beer on Whyte Avenue. (Chan Rin @vividribbon)

No charges will be laid against Edmonton police after a 22-year-old woman's elbow was broken during the arrest of a mother, daughter and a beer-drinking man on Whyte Avenue last year.

Investigators with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team have determined that police acted appropriately during the encounter, the agency said in a news release on Wednesday.

The officers used no more force than was reasonably necessary- Susan Hughson.

"While the woman's intentions may have differed from what officers perceived, on two occasions she tried to interfere as the officers lawfully executed their duties in dealing with other members of her group," reads a statement from ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson.

"Taking into account the dynamic and escalating situation, the officers used no more force than was reasonably necessary." 

The incident unfolded in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 when officers spotted a man with an open beer on the sidewalk.

The man was in a group of eight people gathered on Whyte Avenue near 103rd Street. They all had been drinking, said ASIRT, and were all described as "being intoxicated to some extent."

Two officers, in full uniform approached the group, emptied the man's beer and issued him a ticket, said ASIRT.

'She fell backwards to the pavement' 

The man was calm as he dealt with police, but when a woman in the group tried to intervene, she was arrested.

"Witnesses described the officers repeatedly telling the remaining members of the group to stay back as they placed the woman in handcuffs," reads a statement from ASIRT.

However, the woman's 22-year-old daughter became upset and "ran towards" the officer, ASIRT said.

"As she approached the officer, he either pushed her back or she ran into his braced, outstretched arm(s) as he attempted to hold her off.

"She fell backwards to the pavement."

An officer deployed pepper spray on other people who were trying to interfere in the arrest,

That's when the 22-year-old woman tried to open the doors of a marked prisoner transport van where officers had placed her mother.

She struggled with officers attempting to stop her, and was taken to the ground, handcuffed, and seated on the sidewalk.

She declined medical treatment from police and was later released without further incident.  Doctors later determined that she had fractured her elbow and required surgery.

Under the Criminal Code, an officer is entitled to "use as much force as necessary in the lawful execution of his or her duties," said Hughson, who confirmed there was no reasonable grounds for charges in the case.

 ASIRT has jurisdiction over all police officers in Alberta. It investigates incidents involving police that result in serious injury or death, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.