Lethbridge police address video of officer takedown shared over social media

Police in Lethbridge are urging the public not to jump to conclusions after a video showing an officer takedown was shared on social media.

A bystander captured the dramatic scene on video that was since posted to Instagram. Since Monday, the video has been viewed more than 26,000 times.

The part of the incident captured on video shows a police officer walk up to a young man who is talking to a woman as people can be heard shouting in the background. The officer can then be seen grabbing the man by the throat and punching him in the face. As the man backs away from the officer, the officer reaches his arms out toward the man, at which point another man in an orange shirt appears to tackle the police officer. The officer then once again grabs the man he punched and throws him to the ground. The video ends with the officer straddling the man.

Police allege an 18-year-old man tried to grab the officer’s Taser, while the officer was trying to arrest another person.

The incident unfolded early Saturday morning outside of a Halloween party taking place at La Cité des Prairie event hall on 6 Avenue S.

Police said a large crowd of intoxicated youths had just left the building after a fire extinguisher had been discharged inside.

“This is a very volatile situation for us as police officers to respond to, for the fact that, you’re walking into a situation where youth that would normally be acting a certain way, aren’t,” Sgt. Cam Van Roon said on Wednesday.

Many users who have commented on the Instagram post question whether the officer’s use of force was warranted.

Lethbridge police said the video doesn’t tell the whole story.

“That video shows one snippet, but it doesn’t show the fire extinguisher being used, it doesn’t show the chaos that was happening outside the building,” Van Roon said.

“It shows one piece, and it shows a piece where an officer is taking overt action. It doesn’t show the situation that happened prior to that or what happened after that.”

Lethbridge police said no public complaints against the officer in the video have been brought forward.

“We will always review our use of force, so like any other situation that would have a use-of-force component, that will be reviewed [and] that will happen with this one as well,” Van Roon said.

Police said Saturday’s incident is still under investigation.

Police are looking for 18-year-old Peyton Thomas Kale Many Shots of Brooks, Alta., who they say is wanted on charges of assaulting a peace officer, disarming or attempting to disarm a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer. Police said they could not speak to any charges the other man in the video may be facing.

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