Manitoba

Man, 37, arrested after assaulting off-duty Winnipeg police officer, uttering threats, police say

An off-duty Winnipeg police officer was assaulted late Wednesday morning before his shift, after trying to break up an altercation and having a racial slur directed toward him.

37-year-old charged with assault, 2 counts of uttering threats, police say

'He didn't even say anything. The officer saw this... You see something that might be problematic, you start to walk over and see if maybe you might be able to offer some assistance,' said WPS spokesperson Cst. Rob Carver. (motortion - stock.adobe.com)

An off-duty Winnipeg police officer was assaulted late Wednesday morning before his shift, after trying to break up an altercation and having a racial slur directed toward him.

Around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, an off-duty officer was walking through Millennium Library Park on his way to Winnipeg Police Service headquarters downtown, when he saw an altercation between a woman and a man acting aggressively, police say.

The man, 37, then made a racial slur toward the police officer, who is Black, then kept acting aggressively.

"Then, before he can react, the man basically attacks him," said WPS spokesperson Cst. Rob Carver, adding that it occurred so quickly that there was no verbal exchange.

"He didn't even say anything. The officer saw this ... You see something that might be problematic, you start to walk over and see if maybe you might be able to offer some assistance."

The officer, who was still in civilian clothes, was able to defend himself against the initial assault, and got into a fight, said Carver.

Officers came to help

Fortunately, some police officers in HQ happened to witness the scene through a window and ran out to help their colleague and arrest the man.

During the arrest, the man spoke more racial slurs and threatened to kill the officers at the scene, police say.

The 37-year-old — who had a previous a criminal history, according to Carver — was charged with assault and two counts of uttering threats. 

He was detained in custody.

Police do not know why the man was acting aggressively and violent, but the behaviour patterns and situation align with those of person high on methamphetamine, said Carver.

Police cannot confirm whether the man had used meth unless he self-disclosed — they can only assess based on behaviour, Carver noted.

A bright spot of the incident is that the person attacked happened to be a trained veteran police officer, as opposed to an everyday Winnipegger, he said.

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