An Ontario police officer was caught on video violently arresting a 20-year-old man on a busy street Thursday, threatening to “light (him) up” and slamming his face into the ground while witnesses screamed and pleaded for him to stop.
A video posted to social media shows an officer with a man pinned down on the street while the man screams, “Get off of me!” The officer tells him multiple times to stop resisting, to which he replies he is not resisting.
Police say the arrest was made around 3 p.m. Thursday in Barrie, a city about 90 kilometres north of Toronto.
They say a 20-year-old Barrie male was charged with causing a disturbance and assault with attempt to resist arrest, but have not offered any further details.
Barrie police chief Kimberley Greenwood said in a statement Friday that the officer who made the arrest has been “reassigned to alternate duties” pending the outcome of an investigation by an outside police service.
“The images captured in the video are concerning to both the public and myself,” Greenwood said.
In the video, the person filming the assault comments that the officers are using “extremely excessive force on a young male who is skateboarding.” At one point, a man wearing a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-branded jacket, who CBC said appears to be a camera operator, comes over and puts his hand on the man’s leg.
The officer then orders the man, who is still pinned to the ground, to put his hands behind his back. He jams a taser into the man’s shoulder and says, “You want this?” and threatens, “I’ll light you up.”
A bystander pleads for the officer to stop hurting the man, before the officer shouts, “Roll on your stomach” and appears to slam the taser into his head.
Witnesses scream as a second officer joins in and the pair flips the man onto his stomach, with the first officer grabbing his hair and slamming his face into the pavement.
Several videos have since circulated showing the incident from different angles.
Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman posted on Twitter Thursday night he has seen the videos.
"This will be fully investigated. I won't be ignoring this, and once we have all the details, there will be full accountability,” he wrote.
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