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Edmonton man alleges he was assaulted by police officer after asking for help

Edmonton man says he was assaulted by a police officer
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton man says he was assaulted by a police officer after asking for help. As Lisa MacGregor reports, the man says it started because of a broken window and ended with him in hospital facing charges.

Dark bruises cover Justin Lafrance’s body a week after he says he was assaulted by a police officer after asking for help in downtown Edmonton last Tuesday morning.

He said the incident started because of a broken window and ended with him in hospital, facing charges.

Lafrance said he was doing his construction job at Army and Navy on 97 Street when he heard a window break. He walked down to the road to try to find who did it.

“I got in front of the individual, I turned around to say, ‘Hey, did you break my window?’ And the cop — out of nowhere — tackles the guy. So the cop has no idea what’s happened at this point,” he said.

Lafrance said he had waved the police officer down to come over but he wasn’t sure who broke the window so he was surprised by the officer’s quick actions.

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“The second he had him cuffed, then he started coming at me,” he said.

“I started to back away and then I was hit with something, and then I blacked out from there. The next thing I know, I had a bunch of cops on my back cuffing me.”

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Lafrance said he ended up in the hospital with several bruises and other injuries and is facing a charge of assaulting a peace officer.

READ MORE: Edmonton police takedown raises questions about actions of officers

Jonothan Muckle said he saw the whole thing on his way to work that morning.

“I work at the Bissell Centre so I see a lot of things and I noticed that, hey, something is happening here,” he said. “So I stopped and watched, because I thought maybe it could be important.”

Muckle alleges the officer punched Lafrance repeatedly then pulled out a weapon.

“[The officer] whipped out a baton and started hitting the man on the top of the quads — just huge blows, you can hear the thing,” Muckle said. “It was pretty disturbing [and] it made me sick to my stomach.

“It made me also really scared.”

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When Global News asked Lafrance if he felt he did anything to provoke the police officer, he said “No chance.”

“The whole time my hands were up, my hands were always backing away… so I have no idea how anything I did would have provoked him,” he said.

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Lafrance said he reported his injuries to police and made a complaint.

Edmonton police confirmed they have been ordered to investigate by the director of law enforcement and would not comment further.