Warning: This story contains content that may be disturbing to some. Discretion is advised.
Brockville, Ont., police say they are currently investigating an incident caught on video, showing one of their police officers punching a woman while arresting her earlier this week.
Global News was sent the video Wednesday evening, taken in Brockville, a small city about an hour east of Kingston, Ont., which shows a local police officer struggling to arrest a woman.
According to Brockville police communications officer Andrew Harvie, the incident captured in the video was a local police officer’s arrest of a 33-year-old woman for breaching her bail conditions.
She was originally charged in November 2019 for possession of a substance and theft under $5,000, Harvie said.
Global News has confirmed the woman’s name is Melissa Ross.
In an interview, Ross says she knew she had missed a “couple sign-ins at police” due to “personal issues” that week.
She said she called her lawyer to tell her about the missed sign-ins, and that she believed her lawyer was contacting Brockville police to see what she should do next.
“I went to leave my house with my friend to go shopping and we were walking up Perth Street and about in front of the water tower, a cop passed us. My friend said, ‘Hey, he’s turning around.'”
Ross then told Global News the police officer approached her and told her she was under arrest. When she tried to tell him that her lawyer was supposed to be in touch with police, the officer took hold of her, she said.
“He then proceeded to push on my pressure point in my arm and tell me to put my hands behind my back. But at that time, because where he was pushing on my arm, I couldn’t put my hand behind my back,” Ross said in an interview Thursday.
She claims the officer then quickly picked her up by the coat and “body-slammed” her to the ground.
She said the slam aggravated an old hip injury.
“So when he slammed me on my other hip, it caused that hip to pop out and I couldn’t get into the position. He wanted me to roll over on my stomach. I put my hands behind my back and I tried to explain I cannot do that because my hip hurts.”
In the video, Ross tells the officer repeatedly, “my hip hurts,” as he is telling her to roll over.
At one point, the officer is seen pulling his hand back and then punching her in the face, yelling “don’t hit me.”
She also says, “you just punched me in the face, man,” and he responds, “I did, because you punched me.” There is no point in the video that shows the woman punching the officer. Right before the officer punches Ross, you can see her hand slam against his arm. It’s unclear if this movement was intentional.
Ross says that she in no way tried to strike the officer.
“His fist was coming in contact with my face and he said, ‘Don’t hit me.’ I didn’t even try to hit him at all.“
Although Ross was charged with resisting arrest, she claims that wasn’t the case and she is going to fight the charge.
“He kept putting my arms weird ways. Like at one point in the video, you see my arm bend back funny. And with him doing that, I couldn’t physically even put my hands behind my back.”
Ross went to the hospital after she was released from police custody for resisting arrest.
She has visible bruising under her right eye and under her nose. She said that was caused by the officer’s punch.
“My mouth started to bleed instantly. About within a couple minutes after that, my nose start to leak (blood),” Ross said.
Harvie said Brockville police were made aware of the video Thursday morning. He added police are still investigating the incident, and currently trying to “gather all the facts.”
On Friday, Harvie sent out a release naming the officer as Const. Mike Boszormeny, who he said has been temporarily re-assigned to administrative duties.
“The investigation is in its early stages and he remains an active member of the service at this point. The matter and conduct depicted in the video is being reviewed.”