UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Edmonton Police Service said Police Chief Dale McFee asked the Director of Law Enforcement to take a second review of the file. As such, the police said the DLE directed the matter to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team which has since taken over the investigation.
The Edmonton Police Service has launched a criminal investigation into one of its own members after an aggressive arrest was caught on camera.
The incident unfolded on the evening of June 11 in the back parking lot of an apartment building near the Alberta legislature, on 98 Avenue and 106 Street.
Multiple cellphone videos appears to show an officer kicking at someone on the ground. The officers are heard yelling profanity during the tense situation.
The video then shows the suspect being lifted up by officers, one of whom pushes the man head first into the concrete wall of the building.
An EPS spokesperson described the file as a stolen vehicle investigation.
At the time, police said because of the use of force, they contacted the director of law enforcement and were told to continue their own investigation. The Professional Standards Branch initiated a review, which police now say included a criminal investigation.
Criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel said this case is front and centre in the public eye and that a lot of people are saying EPS shouldn’t be investigating this incident.
“The complication is how this appears to the public, and the appearance to the public would be that it is a biased investigation,” Engel said. “Whether it’s biased or not, it’s perhaps more important how it appears to the public.
“It’s unusual, because to me, this is a case that clearly calls on (Alberta Serious Incident Response Team) ASIRT,” Engel said.
WATCH BELOW: A tense police takedown on June 11, 2019 near the Alberta legislature, which was caught on video, is putting the spotlight on the actions of the officers involved. Vinesh Pratap explains.
WARNING: some viewers may find this video disturbing.
According to the Police Act, the director of law enforcement can take over the investigation at any time.
The suspect has been identified as 26-year-old Kyle Parkhurst. His lawyer said his client doesn’t know what he did to provoke the police.
“From what he’s told me, he suffers from headaches since this incident. He has scabs as a result of the cuts in his scalp that he was combing out a number of weeks,” lawyer Mark Jordan said. “He tells me he continues to suffer from nightmares because of this incident.”
The officer involved was moved to non-patrol duties after the incident.
— With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News