Toronto police vow to review use of force in arrest of man Tasered while restrained
Man accused of assaulting female police officer, kicking out window of cruiser
Toronto police say they will review an incident in which officers Tasered a man accused of assaulting a female officer while the man was restrained and face down on the ground.
Footage from a cellphone video recorded by a bystander Tuesday morning appears to show the man being Tasered on the road near Dundas Street East and Church Street.
An officer is also seen in the video kicking the man while he is on the ground surrounded by officers. Another male officer, wearing a tuque, can be heard on the video saying to bystanders: "He's going to spit in your face and you're going to get AIDS." The officer appears to be talking about the suspect.
The footage was published by CityNews.
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"I can tell you we will look at this," said Mark Pugash, spokesman for the Toronto Police Service. "We look at all of our uses of force and we will look at this. We will take whatever steps are necessary based on what we come across."
The man was not injured or taken to hospital, according to police spokeswoman Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook. The female officer received minor injuries.
According to Pugash, the man was violent before the video was taken and punched a female officer, knocking her to the ground. He also kicked out the window of a police cruiser, according to police.
He said officers are entitled to use "reasonable force" when presented with such violence.
The man was taken out of the police cruiser because there was broken glass, he said.
"He was down on the ground but he continued to bite a police officer. He had a police officer's hand in his mouth and he was continuing to be aggressive," Pugash said.
"The job of the officers is to use the minimum force necessary. In this case, the man displayed a continued high level of violence. Ninety per cent of what happened isn't in that video."
Pugash said, however, that the officer who threatened to seize the cellphone from the bystander filming the incident will be spoken to by his senior officers.
"From what I can tell, the man is far enough away," Pugash said of the bystander.
"We've reminded officers many times that if someone is filming you but they are neither obstructing nor impeding you in any way, then they are entitled to keep filming. As the video goes on, the officers threaten to seize the man's phone. They don't have that authority. We've told our people, life in 2017 is people will be filming you."
Annie Arnone, a reporter with The Eyeopener, Ryerson University's student newspaper, said she witnessed the man kicking out the police cruiser window.
She said she saw officers Taser the suspect in the back of the cruiser, drag him out and put him face down on the ground before Tasering him a second time.
"Based on the context that I had, which was very little, I was shocked," she said. "People around me were shocked, pretty confused. Yes, it's pretty messed up. He wasn't resisting at all."
Arnone said the incident is disturbing also because the officers are white while the suspect is black.
Police said the man was in custody. Charges have not yet been laid.
With files from Ali Chiasson