January 23, 2019 7:20 pm
Updated: January 24, 2019 7:32 pm

ASIRT clears 2 Calgary police officers in 2016 Inglewood arrest

FILE: Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.

File / Global News

Two Calgary police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing surrounding an incident that unfolded on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

The incident involved the use of a Taser-like device, handcuffs and officers using force to subdue a suspect. But the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said Wednesday the officers did not use excessive force and some of the injuries sustained by one of the people arrested “were likely not the result of the force used.”

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At around 11 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2016, officers in an unmarked cruiser pursued a black Audi car, later established to be stolen, according to ASIRT. The pursuit began after the driver left a gas station in Inglewood at high speed, driving through wintry conditions. Before the vehicle left the gas station, the driver and passenger had used a stolen credit card to purchase cigarettes and pre-pay for gas, police said.

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According to a police statement, the Audi went through a stop sign at an T-intersection and collided with a tree on the front lawn of a house near 8 Avenue and 15 Street S.E., stopping the vehicle.

A 20-year-old woman in the back seat immediately exited the car and put her hands up, police said. The passenger, a 28-year-old man, remained in the vehicle and told police the driver was “dazed out” and bleeding after smashing his head “really bad” into the steering wheel, police said.

Officers approached the vehicle on foot with handguns drawn as their dash cam system recorded the arrests.

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After initially pulling out their handguns, police said the officers approaching the vehicle switched to their conducted energy weapons — commonly known as Tasers — and handcuffs to arrest the driver. An ASIRT statement said a struggle on the ground ensued, in which it appears the officers used a conducted energy weapon.

The driver admitted to drinking that evening and also to using cocaine and methamphetamine approximately 10 hours earlier, police said.

They said the driver’s injuries included five “significant” lacerations to the face and head, requiring 24 staples to close. They said he also suffered two small sinus and septum fractures.

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“There were two possible mechanisms of injury: the collision, including hitting his head on the steering wheel, and the application of force by the officers,” ASIRT said in an emailed statement. “It is impossible to determine with certainty which injuries may have been caused as a result of the collision and which were the result of the application of force. That having been said, based on the evidence, some of the lacerations and the minor fractures were likely the result of the collision.”

ASIRT determined that because of the unco-operative nature of the driver, the potential offenders outnumbering the officers and the unsafe nature of the scene, the officers did not use an excessive amount of force to gain control of the situation.

READ MORE: Calgary police officers ‘acted responsibly’ in 2016 fatal shooting of suspect: ASIRT

“The use of strikes to gain compliance would not be outside the realm of what use of force might be reasonable,” ASIRT said. “Lastly, some of the injuries sustained, particularly the sinus fractures and at least some of the lacerations, were likely not the result of the force used and the remaining injuries, while not insignificant, were — relatively speaking — minor, consisting of lacerations.”

ASIRT said neither officer will be charged in relation to the incident.

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