Investigation launched following video of man's head hitting concrete during arrest
Warning: This story contains graphic video
Alberta's police watchdog is investigating a Tuesday arrest in Sherwood Park after a social media video surfaced that shows an RCMP officer taking down a man whose head slams into the concrete sidewalk and begins to bleed.
In a news release, Alberta RCMP said that shortly after 6 p.m. on Tuesday police and firefighters responded to a fire at a unit in a residential complex on Cloverbar Road, but could not locate the homeowner.
About an hour later, police were called to a Sherwood Park coffee shop, where it is alleged an intoxicated man was chasing a vehicle. According to the news release, the man was told to leave the shop.
Shortly before 8 p.m, police said, the man returned to his residence — the unit where the fire had started earlier — and got into an argument with neighbours and a fire services member.
"The male is alleged to have assaulted a fire services member on scene," police said Wednesday in the news release.
Outside in the parking lot, when an officer moved in to arrest the man, the man was "taken to the ground," police said, and suffered an injury. EMS took the man to hospital, and he has since been released.
A video of the arrest sparked strong reactions when it surfaced on social media.
Warning: This video below contains graphic content.
The start of the video shows a man in a hat and striped shirt arguing with other people. About a minute into the video, an RCMP SUV pulls up and an officer approaches the man and grabs him by one arm.
The video shows the man and the officer from behind before the officer puts his leg behind the man and trips him, and the man falls face first onto the concrete. The officer then drops on top of the man, and appears to kneel on his back.
When he first hits the ground, the man groans loudly.
"What did I tell you?" the officer says, and begins handcuffing the man.
"Oh, my god, he's bleeding. Hey, he's bleeding!" a voice shouts from a nearby apartment building.
"Really?" the officer responds. "I'm aware." The officer then looks up at the camera.
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Interviewed at the Sherwood Park complex on Wednesday, the man, who identified himself only as "Mike," said he doesn't have a memory of the arrest, and didn't know if it was a fellow resident or a police officer he had encountered.
He said he was feeling "OK" but that he has bleeding on his brain. When initially asked about the arrest, Mike told reporters he was inebriated at the time.
"There's not much I can say if I was unco-operative," he said.
When reporters showed him the video, which he hadn't previously seen, he exclaimed "oh geez" and looked away.
"That sounds like my head hitting the ground. You might consider that excessive, but I've got no comment," he said, before walking away.
In the news release, Alberta RCMP said both the incident and the police officer's duty status are under review. The force said it would not comment further on what happened, as the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has taken over the investigation.
ASIRT serves as Alberta's police oversight body, and investigates serious incidents involving law enforcement that result in serious injury or death.
ASIRT has been directed to investigate an arrest by Strathcona County <a href="https://twitter.com/RCMPAlberta?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RCMPAlberta</a> that occurred yesterday in Sherwood Park. Details to follow.—@ASIRT_AB