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Calgary police officer acquitted of assaulting suspect in custody

Click to play video 'Video shows violent confrontation between Calgary cop and arrested man' Video shows violent confrontation between Calgary cop and arrested man
WATCH: Video submitted into evidence shows a violent confrontation between Const. David Pizzolato and a man in police custody in 2016. Pizzolato has since been acquitted of an assault charge he faced in relation with the incident. – Dec 6, 2019

A recently fired Calgary police officer has been found not guilty of assault.

The incident, from March 24, 2016, happened at the arrest processing unit (APU) and was between Const. David Pizzolato and Darren Ekson. At the time, Ekson was 59 years old. The incident was captured on surveillance camera.

The video shows Ekson is sitting down and handcuffed. Pizzolato grabs the man by the head, pulls him to the floor and punches Ekson in the right side three times.

The former police officer previously testified Ekson spit at him, causing him to use force. On Friday, Judge Gordon Yake acquitted Pizzolato.

The officer was previously fired by the Calgary Police Service for discreditable conduct stemming from a separate case. He was dismissed for trying to initiate what was referred to as a “predatory” relationship with a young woman 26 years younger than him.

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Court documents reveal the 22-year veteran Pizzolato was fired after being found guilty of two counts of disciplinary misconduct.

According to the decision, Pizzolato went to the victim’s home on June 18, 2016 to check on a welfare complaint. The woman had tried to take her own life and was admitted to a Calgary hospital mental health unit.

Pizzolato began texting her from his personal cell phone. The victim advised a security officer at the hospital, and after reviewing the content, staff felt is was inappropriate and called police.

After she was released from hospital, Pizzolato came to her home when he was off duty and driving his personal vehicle. He took her out for ice cream. The victim said “she felt pressured to go with Const. Pizzolato and was scared about what he might do to her and she didn’t feel safe but didn’t know what to do.”