Video of officer seen punching driver to be investigated: Kelowna RCMP

KELOWNA, B.C. — A video circulating on social media that appears to show a Mountie punching a combative driver doesn't tell the full story, the Kelowna detachment's top officer said Tuesday.

The RCMP have launched an investigation into what happened, said RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle.

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The video was filmed by a passerby and shows two officers wrestling with a man in a parking lot on Saturday. A third Mountie is shown getting out of his vehicle, running to the scene and punching the civilian in the face.

"I recognize that the tactics seen in this video are shocking to many people. Any time an officer is required to apply a use-of-force option during an arrest it can appear disturbing," Mundle said during a news conference Tuesday at the detachment.

"It is always our intention to enact a peaceful arrest, but when circumstances require it, officers may be required to use other options. This may include use of physical force.

"It is for this reason our officers are trained to conduct a continual risk assessment of the situation, as often these decisions are required in a split second."

The video doesn't show what led up to the Mountie's actions, Mundle said, adding the man was arrested for obstruction.

The driver allegedly struggled with the officers by pulling away, clenching his fists and refusing to follow commands, Mundle said.

"Because of the difficulty in safely bringing the man under control, the officers requested a third member attend the scene.

"When the third officer arrived, he observed that the man was still resisting arrest. In order to gain control of the situation, and for the safety of the officers, he was struck several times and was then taken to the ground and handcuffed," Mundle said.

The superintendent acknowledged that "in the short duration of the video, the action is concerning," but said the full arrest needs to be considered.

Police said officers were responding to a complaint of an intoxicated man in a vehicle on a Kelowna street Saturday night.

A 30-year-old man was taken to the RCMP detachment, then to hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Mundle said. He is not in custody.

Mundle said the officers' actions will be investigated in a code-of-conduct investigation to make sure proper procedures were followed.

This is not the kind of case B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office looks into, Mundle said.

Neither the officer nor the driver were named, but Mundle said the officer has been with the Kelowna detachment for three years.

The officer wasn't at work on Tuesday and his status during the investigation has not been determined, he said.

An investigation also continues into the alleged impairment case. (Kelowna Daily Courier)

This report sent by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2020.

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