RCMP investigate 'use of force' during Cold Lake arrest
A Cold Lake RCMP constable is being investigated for his use of force during an arrest on the weekend.
A video showing an officer kicking a man in the head during arrest in the northeast Alberta city was posted to YouTube Tuesday.
The officer was one of three responding to a complaint of 100 drunk people causing a disturbance in a parking lot of a community hall near Cold Lake at 1 a.m. Saturday, the RCMP said in a statement.
The complaint came from one of the organizers of a birthday party who wanted police to disperse the crowd of party goers.
When the responding officers tried to disperse the crowd, an intoxicated man weighing about 300 pounds "refused to leave and began to display aggressive behavior towards the police," according to the RCMP.
"The members quickly recognized that if they didn't do something with this individual, his state of aggression, his agitated state would increase and they decided to act upon that," said Supt. Randy McGinnis.
"The suspect was told he was under arrest, but would not obey police and continued to act aggressively."
While two officers focused their efforts on arresting the suspect, the other controlled the crowd of onlookers.
Police used pepper spray, baton
The officer used pepper spray and a baton to subdue the man to little effect, said police.
The man eventually laydown on the ground but continued to resisted efforts to handcuff him.
The video shows the struggle, with two officers trying to put two sets of cuffs on the suspect, when one of the officers kicked the man in the face with his right foot.
McGinnis says the officer was trying to stun the man.
"This stun technique is typically used with a open hand, a palm an elbow or a knee. But the member couldn't free his hands, so he used his right leg and kicked."
The man was taken into custody and released the following day.
The RCMP said it has not received a public complaint regarding the use of force in this arrest.
"It's very imperative and important to me that the public knows we take this seriously. That we're going to look into this thoroughly and decisions will be made based on the facts," McGinnis said.
He says the YouTube video has been edited and that the RCMP is studying the original version.
The officer in question is currently on leave and will be assigned to administrative duties upon his return to work, he said.
A RCMP officer from outside Cold Lake will lead an investigation into the arrest.