RCMP, IIU investigate after Manitoba officer accused of kneeling on man’s neck

Global News / File

The RCMP is investigating the actions of an officer and is asking Manitoba’s police watchdog to review the case after the Mounties say a video presented in court allegedly shows an officer kneeling on a man’s neck.

Manitoba RCMP Commanding Officer Jane MacLatchy said in a statement that during an incident at Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport, officers were trying to de-escalate a situation after a drunk man assaulted a member of the public.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police use of force under scrutiny

But the Mounties say the man was combative and punched an officer in the face which led to his arrest. When he was in handcuffs, RCMP allege the man then kicked the arresting officer in the groin and thigh before he was taken down. MacLatchy said the video played in court appears to show the officer placing his knee on the man’s neck.

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“Let me be very clear, the RCMP does not teach nor endorse any technique where RCMP officers place a knee on the head or neck,” MacLatchy said.

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“I found the video very disturbing. Hearing a man clearly informing police officers that he cannot breathe is all too present in our collective consciousness.”

RCMP have referred the incident to the Independent Investigation Unit, which probes incidents involving Manitoba police officers. RCMP have also conducting a comprehensive internal review of the officer’s actions. His duty status is also being reviewed.

MacLatchy said that while assaulting an officer is completely unacceptable, “a knee to the neck is not the response for which our officers are trained.”

“I will not let this go unexamined,” MacLatchy added.

“I owe it to the individual involved, the public, and the RCMP officers under my command, to take the time to review this properly and determine the appropriate way forward.”

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