Hamilton police arrest video goes viral

More than 100,000 people have watched this video of Hamilton police officer Mark Morelli making an arrest. While the cameraman accuses him of excessive force, many viewers have come to the officer's support online.

Warning: This video contains some strong language

A video of a police takedown and arrest in Hamilton is garnering international interest online for the way two officers handled a suspect who is resisting.

With a crowd watching, Hamilton police officers Mark Morelli and Chantelle Wilson spend several minutes subduing and arresting a woman who is screaming and calling out about being hurt as they try to handcuff her. Once she's in handcuffs and in the back of their police cruiser, the breathless officer then explains to the crowd exactly what he was doing.

“Our domestic policy is very specific. Without going into detail, this young woman has broken the law, and we were attempting to place her under arrest and she began to resist," he said to the people watching. “I’m doing my best not to hurt that girl. Our mandate is to affect arrests while doing the minimum amount of damage to people as possible. And that’s what I tried to do.”

He explains that he only used "soft hand techniques," so no punches, kicks or forceful throws to the ground were used to subdue the suspect.

“I’m not going to get into a long wrestling match with a young girl, because the longer she fights, the more likely one of the two of us is going to get hurt,” he said.

The man shooting the video questions the amount of force being used, but the officer reiterates again his approach.

“While it may appear to be very rough to you — and I apologize for you having to see that — but I have the lawful authority to arrest her and I am obligated to arrest her.”

Many people online praised the officers for the way they handled the situation:

Support from Australia, the U.S. and Europe chief says

Hamilton police Chief Glenn De Caire said he was "very pleased with the amount of communication from our officers," and how the officers chose to restrain the suspect. He added "this is clearly a display of excellent training."

De Caire said he first saw the video Thursday morning and that the Hamilton police department has received over a thousand calls and emails of support, some from as far as Australia, the U.S. and Europe. He also said that when making arrests, officers aren't required to explain an arrest to anyone other than their supervisors, the person who is being arrested and the court.

The chief had some criticism for the person who filmed the incident.

"What is very discouraging is we actually have citizens on scene who think the priority is to get their cellphone out and videotape this when, in fact, they should be coming to the assistance of the officer and helping us to police in our own community," De Caire said.

A Hamilton man named Ali AlAbbudi filmed the video, but he declined an interview request from CBC Hamilton. His Facebook page lists him as a Mohawk College student who also attended Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary.

De Caire added there are, on average, 600 calls to 911 per day in Hamilton. Watch his full interview here:

Police Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning told CBC Hamilton that the video was shot on Sunday morning on the East Mountain, and involved a domestic situation.


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