The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) said that an Airdrie RCMP officer was justified in a minor use of force, in their conclusions after investigating an incident from June 2020.

The incident stemmed from an arrest in Linden in which one individual sustained minor injuries as a result of the arrest. 

According to the conclusions of the investigation, the officer was, 'justified in a minor use of force to overcome this resistance and arrest him. As a result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed.'

The incident occurred on June 30, 2020, when the SO (referred to as the subject officer), a witness officer (referred to in the report as WO1), and witness officer #2 (WO2) were at a residence near Linden investigating a threat complaint.

"The subject of the complaint was a man in a white Chevrolet truck. The man had said he was watching the complainant and referred to the complainant’s residence. While they were at the residence, the AP [Affected Person] drove by in his light-coloured truck. The officers thought it might be the white truck from their complaint, so the SO drove after the AP and stopped him."

At approximately 11:45 p.m., the AP stopped his truck, which was a silver Ford, inside of Linden. The AP immediately got out of his truck and walked toward the SO’s police vehicle.

"He walked close enough to the driver’s side of the vehicle to be out of view for the vehicle’s front camera."

The exchange between the AP and SO was recorded and presented in ASIRT's report. The SO instructed the AP to get back into their vehicle multiple times.

"The SO and the AP then took a few steps forward so that they were at the edge of the field of view for the police vehicle camera. The two were facing each other and talking animatedly, although the conversation was not caught on video," ASIRT stated in its report.

Minutes later, the SO reached out to grab the AP’s left arm. The AP pulled his arm up and away from the SO.

"The SO placed both hands on the AP’s shoulder area and pushed the AP back, turning him slightly. The SO put one arm around the AP’s neck from behind and appeared to pull the AP to the ground as they left the camera’s field of view."

Another portion of the exchange between the police officer and the AP was recorded and made public as part of the report. The officer tells the AP he is under arrest for obstruction and resisting arrest. At one point the AP can be heard saying, 'You're going to beat me up because I stand out of my vehicle. '

The SO instructed the AP to put his hands behind his back multiple times and was heard telling the AP to stop resisting. The first witness officer arrived and began to help the SO gain control of the AP.

"WO2 arrived shortly after, and the three officers handcuffed the AP and brought him to a police vehicle. The officers requested emergency medical services (EMS), who arrived a short time later. Paramedics found that the AP had a small cut on the bridge of his nose, but no other injuries."

The AP was noted to not have complained of pain and, after cleaning and covering his cut, there was no further need for care.

"Both paramedics thought that the AP was belligerent and had been consuming alcohol."

The AP did provide a statement to the RCMP but refused to participate in ASIRT's subsequent investigation. In his statement, the AP told police that he was, 'driving home from a friend’s residence when stopped by the SO.'

"He got out and approached the SO, who told him to get back into his vehicle. The AP refused repeatedly and told the SO that he did not respect him. He told the RCMP that he was 'pissed off.'"

The AP stated that he was unsure what happened next but thought that the SO may have hit him.

"He was then on the ground and bleeding. There was a struggle to get cuffs on him and two other officers arrived. His injuries were a scratched cornea, cut above his left eyebrow, damage to the cartilage in his nose, and numbness in the right side of his face."

He refused to allow ASIRT investigators to access his medical records. The man was charged with impaired driving, refusing a breath demand, and two counts of obstructing a police officer from this incident. The charges were withdrawn on June 17, 2021. 

"The AP did not agree to be interviewed by ASIRT. While the RCMP interview was reviewed, the AP’s lack of participation affected the quality of the evidence available. ASIRT was unable to obtain the AP’s medical records. The most reliable evidence of injury without these records is therefore the evidence of the paramedics. Their evidence was that the AP had a small cut," ASIRT added in its report.

ASIRT's investigation stated that when the SO first stopped the AP, he was investigating the threats complaint.

"He was entitled to stop the vehicle and briefly detain its occupants to determine if they were involved. While the truck in the complaint was a white Chevrolet and the AP was driving a silver Ford, the SO was still entitled to briefly stop the vehicle given the similarity and the proximity to the complaint."

ASIRT underlined that traffic stops are dangerous situations for police officers.

"Police officers have been shot by drivers during routine traffic stops and officers are therefore justified in controlling the movements of drivers during traffic stops. The SO was justified in telling the AP to return to his vehicle, and the AP was acting unreasonably when he refused to do so."

As part of its investigation, ASIRT said that it interviewed four police officers and two paramedics. ASIRT investigators also reviewed video from the police vehicles involved and reviewed radio communications from the incident.

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