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Man says Saskatoon police used force over jaywalking allegation

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WATCH: A Saskatoon man says his weekly jog turned into a run-in with the Saskatoon Police Service, when officers forcefully put him in handcuffs, leaving him with some minor injuries – Apr 13, 2021

William Favel had just finished a 20-km jog when a confrontation with Saskatoon police left him in pain and with a jaywalking ticket.

It happened along 20th Street West in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood on April 2. In an interview, Favel said he was waiting for a nearby community barbecue to begin, and decided to walk down the street.

Read more: Saskatchewan takes next step in establishing police watchdog

A police SUV passed him three times before stopping in front of him, Favel said. He crossed the street and officers followed.

“They come running out and that’s when I pull out my phone [to record a video],” Favel said.
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On the recording, Favel can be heard telling officers to get away and that he’s recording them. Police tell him to relax, that he’s resisting arrest and to put his hands behind his back.

After the video stops, he was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and kneed in the head, according to Favel.

“You don’t approach another human being and use that kind of force. I don’t care if you’re a cop or who you are,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Man says Saskatoon police used force over jaywalking allegation' Man says Saskatoon police used force over jaywalking allegation
Man says Saskatoon police used force over jaywalking allegation – Apr 13, 2021

The encounter ended with Favel receiving a $40 ticket for jaywalking. There were no other charges.

“You can sit here all day and probably hand out 1,000 tickets for jaywalkers,” Favel said while at the scene with Global News.

Read more: Saskatoon man charged with sexually assaulting a child over a 5+ year period

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According to Favel, he didn’t say anything to the officers before he started recording the video, and because he was wearing headphones, he didn’t hear any initial commands officers may have given him.

He went to City Hospital two hours later, reporting he was “assaulted by the police,” leaving him with neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist pain, a hospital form states. He also had cuts on his arms. An x-ray revealed no broken bones.

In a statement, a Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson said officers attempted to arrest the man for obstruction after he refused to give his personal information for the ticket. After providing the information, he was released.

Officers were instructed to file a report on the incident after Global News contacted police.

“Written reports are not typically left for tickets such as the one that was issued,” the spokesperson said.

Favel has filed a complaint, which will go through the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission, a police oversight body.

Read more: Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper reflects on challenging 2020

“This independent process is important and must be allowed to take place so that all details are known before we respond,” police Chief Troy Cooper said in a statement.

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“Whether a complaint is made or not we also have a supervisor review files and a use of force evaluation that occurs internally — a provincially standardized process that has not yet been completed.”

Favel, who is Indigenous, said he’s been stopped by police multiple times in recent weeks, stating the most recent incident is an example of what he considers harassment and discrimination.

What hurts the most, he said, is having to watch his two sons try to comprehend what happened. His 24-year-old son has Down syndrome and loves police. His other son is 17.

“It hurts me to see my kids hurt,” Favel said.

On Monday, legislation was introduced to create a civilian-led Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) in Saskatchewan. The province dedicated $287,000 in the 2021-22 budget to develop the SIRT.

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