An Alberta RCMP officer is under investigation after violently taking down a man who did not appear to be resisting arrest and causing his head to smash into a sidewalk and bleed profusely.
On Tuesday night, first responders were called to a fire in an apartment complex in Sherwood Park, a community just outside of Edmonton but couldn't find the home’s owner, according to an Alberta RCMP news release.
Police say that an hour and a half later, the owner showed up and appeared intoxicated. According to the RCMP, the man got into an altercation with some of the tenants and first responders and allegedly assaulted a firefighter. Police say the man was drunk at a coffee shop earlier in the evening and officers had to be called before he left.
A video posted on social media shows an RCMP officer approaching a man on the sidewalk outside of the complex and grabbing one of his hands. With their backs to the camera, the two seem to talk and the man says something loudly to bystanders nearby.
After about 15 seconds the officer puts a leg behind the man, trips him, and throws him to the ground. The man's head smashes into the concrete with a loud smack. He immediately begins to groan and blood starts to seep from his head.
“What did I tell you,” the officer said to the bleeding man.
In the video, the officer then kneels on the bleeding man's neck and back and handcuffs him. The people filming the interaction yell at the police officer to let him know the man is bleeding.
“Really?” said the officer. “I”m aware.”
At one point, the officer rolls the man over to put him in the recovery position showing a large pool of blood under the man’s head.
Police say the man was taken to hospital and subsequently released. No charges were laid.
Edmonton reporters interviewed the man, who only gave his first name as “Mike,” at the apartment building the next day. The man said he had a brain bleed but felt OK. He said he did not remember the incident but was “obviously very drunk at the time.” Reporters showed the man the video, which he had not yet seen.
"Oh geez. That sounds like my head hitting the ground,” the man said, according to the CBC. “You might consider that excessive, but I've got no comment.”
Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the incident and RCMP said they are reviewing the officer's status. The video of the takedown has been shared widely and comes at a time when police use of force is being heavily scrutinized.
ASIRT is also investigating an incident that took place last month where a First Nations chief and his wife were violently tackled by Alberta RCMP after he was pulled over for an expired license. Dashcam video of the incident shows Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation being taken down with no warning, punched in the head, and choked. Police eventually dropped charges of resisting arrest against Adam after allegations of racism and scrutiny for their violent handling of the situation.
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