A video circulating on social media is raising a lot of questions about the use of force by police during an arrest.
The video appears to show a Laval police officer headbutting, kneeing and punching a man to the ground before handcuffing him.
Laval police spokesperson Geneviève Major said the arrest happened on Friday at around 3:30 p.m. on Cartier Boulevard in Laval’s Chomedey district.
“Officers were responding to a break-and-enter in a private residence,” she said. “It’s a serious offence.”
When officers arrived, they attempted what Major described as a high-risk arrest — meaning there was a good distance between the three suspects and the responding officers.
“The first step is to verbalize,” she said. “We ask them to lie on the ground and then we can proceed safely.”
In this case, however, Major said the men did not co-operate.
“Two of them ran off,” she said, adding that one officer gave chase on foot, leaving her partner with the third man.
Major said the officer caught on video attempted to handcuff the suspect, but the suspect managed to slip his hand away and grab the handcuff.
“He tried using it as a brass knuckle to punch the officer in the face,” she said.
According to Major, the officer protected himself but injured his left hand to the point that he was unable to use it during the arrest.
Use of excessive force?
What followed next was captured on video.
Major said there will not be an internal investigation into the incident.
“In looking at the situation, the officer acted appropriately,” she said, although she admitted it wasn’t a conventional arrest.
The officer was taken to hospital to be treated for his hand injury and is on leave for five days as a result, Major said.
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The man arrested in the video was also taken to hospital for a checkup. He was uninjured expect for a laceration on his lip.
All three men, aged between 20 and 21, were arrested in connection with the break-and-enter. Major said all three are known to Laval police.
They are expected to appear in court Monday morning, where they face several charges, including breaking and entering, theft, plotting, possession of stolen goods and resisting arrest.