WATCH: Police brutality of cop baiting? Mark Carcasole has the details on a video that is stirring debate.
TORONTO – Toronto police are investigating after a video was posted on YouTube of a man allegedly being violently taken down by officers.
The video was recorded Monday, Jan. 26 shortly after 2 a.m. during a traffic stop near Jane and Finch in northwest Toronto.
The video shows a man walking towards a police cruiser and asking for his papers.
“Why did you pull me over?” the man said in the video. “Did you even pull me over?”
One of officers, sitting in the driver’s side seat, then tells the man they are conducting an investigation and he will give his papers back when they’re done.
The man holding the cell phone leans on the car but quickly steps back and apologizes when told not to lean on the car. He then reaches into the car, and the video shows a quick view of the officer’s name tag. That prompts the officers to get out, as one can be heard saying “you do not reach inside a… police vehicle.”
The man can be heard asking “what are you guys doing” before he starts screaming for help.
The incident is being investigated by the Professional Standards unit. As a result, Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack wouldn’t comment on the contents of the video.
He did however say the video shows “only a snippet” of a larger interaction.
“It may be interpreted as cop baiting and that’s one of the concerns that we have with this video,” he said in an interview Thursday. “what we are opposed to is when people interfere with a police officer doing their job or jeopardize officer safety while they’re trying to do that.”
But Selwyn Pieters, a Toronto-based lawyer, suggested the officer’s conduct was “totally inappropriate.”
“I was very disappointed that the officer did not explain himself to the citizen who required an answer as to why he was being investigated.”
Pieters went on to say there’s nothing wrong with reaching inside a police officer’s vehicle.
“Police officers reach into private citizens vehicles all the time when they do traffic stops, they poke their head into people’s vehicles. The young man poked his head in so he could see the officer’s name. It’s not a bad idea, we’re paying officers to serve the public, it’s not an us against them mentality.”
But McCormack said police aren’t concerned about being videotaped. Instead, reaching into a police vehicle stokes concerns about officer safety – especially after police officers in New York City were shot recently.
“Let us do our job, it makes no sense given the way officer safety is and that sort of heightened awareness right now around officer safety, for somebody to be reaching not a police vehicle while the officer is doing their job, there’s no need for that.”