Charges have been approved against a 30-year-old Burnaby man after his arrest raised questions among students at Simon Fraser University.
Babakayode Fatoba, a Black SFU alumnus, has been charged with causing a disturbance, obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer, Burnaby RCMP said Friday.
Part of the Dec. 11 incident, in which Fatoba was pepper-sprayed and Tasered, was captured on cellphone video.
Burnaby RCMP said last week that campus security called for officers around 9 p.m. for help with “a man that was familiar to them refusing to leave the dining hall.”
The man was circling the room and yelling at campus security, RCMP said, and an officer tried to calm the man down using de-escalation techniques.
“The man took the police officer by the arm and a physical altercation ensued where the officer deployed pepper spray,” a statement from Burnaby RCMP said.
“During this altercation, the man subdued the officer and put the officer in a chokehold. Fearing for his safety, the officer deployed a (Taser).”
One SFU student who witnessed the incident, and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, described a different version of events to Global News.
The witness said the alumnus, who had paid for a meal, was being followed by security and was yelling for other students to watch what was going on when police arrived.
“The RCMP officer did not try and calm the situation down further and do any fact-finding, and then we watched as he violently arrested him,” he said.
Burnaby RCMP said videos of the incident shared on social media capture only a portion of what it calls a “complex and dynamic situation.”
SFU Student Society president Osob Mohamed said she’s upset about what happened, but not surprised.
“This is not the first time something like this has happened at SFU, and this is also coming after conversations we’ve had directly with campus health and security about police presence on campus, and about the dangers of calling police, particularly on Black people,” she said.
— With files from Nadia Stewart and Simon Little