The video, released on Monday by the Indigenous Joint Action Coalition (IJAC), shows a Saskatoon police officer repeatedly striking a suspect whom the officer arrested on Saturday.
The first officer is eventually joined by seven others, five of whom also help restrain the suspect. IJAC identified the suspect as Evan Penner, an Indigenous man.
“This officer was assaulted,” Dean Pringle, the president of the SPA, told 650 CKOM radio host John Gormley, adding that the suspect tried to grab the officer’s Taser, tried to bite the officer and hit the officer in the face with an ammunition clip he seized from the officer’s belt.
He also said the police received two calls about Penner before the call that triggered the arrest, stating the police were called because Penner was disorderly.
The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) and police association said officers received a suspicious person call, whereas IJAC, in a statement, said the incident began with a mental wellness check.
The video does not show what happened before the arrest began.
Pringle also told 650 CKOM that the officer is Korean. “His spouse is Indigenous and his police partner is Indigenous … he attends cultural ceremonies with his work partner to better understand the Indigenous community,” Pringle said.
“The Saskatoon Police Association unequivocally supports this member.”
Pringle and Julie Clark, a spokesperson for the police, said the officer has been given time away from work, which is standard procedure after a critical incident.
“The member was given two shifts off to allow him the time to make sure he is physically and mentally fine,” Pringle said.
“The member is asked to take a few shifts off with consideration for their mental health,” Clark said in an email.
Pringle took care to clarify the officer was not on leave.
“It should not have been stated by the Saskatoon Police that this officer was placed on administrative leave,” he said.
The original police statement said, “(t)he officer involved has been placed on leave until an initial review of his response and use of force can be completed.”