Calgary Police Used Appropriate Force in Arrest

On June 11, 2016, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate an incident involving the Calgary Police Service (CPS) that resulted in serious injuries to a 45-year old man.

On that date at approximately 1:10 a.m., a 45-year-old man was seen breaking into a closed business located on 17 Avenue SW. CPS called its tactical team to make the arrest, as the man was known to police, had an extensive criminal history, including a potential for violence, and was possibly armed. Police entered the building and found the man, who was breaking into an ATM machine, and took him into custody.

ASIRT’s investigation focused on the circumstances surrounding the conduct of police while arresting the man. When officers encountered the man, he was holding a crowbar in one hand and an unidentified object in the other hand. Officers told the man to drop the items and put his hands behind his back. The man dropped the crowbar, but didn’t follow commands to drop the unidentified object and put his hands behind his back. To get the man to comply, an officer delivered a straight-leg “stun” kick to the man just above the hip. The man didn’t let go of the item, leading to a struggle. While one officer tried to pry the item from the man’s hand, others used kicks to the thigh and buttocks as a distraction/compliance technique while they tried to secure the man’s hands.

Once handcuffed, the man denied having any weapons, however, officers found a four-inch to five-inch folding knife in his front pants pocket. The unidentified object turned out to be a flashlight. Emergency Medical Services treated the man on scene before taking him to the hospital. At the hospital, it was determined that the man had sustained a lacerated spleen.

ASIRT executive director Susan D. Hughson, QC, reviewed the completed investigation and determined that the force used by the officers was reasonable in the circumstances, and was no more than was necessary to gain compliance from the man and disarm him of the unidentified object. Accordingly, no criminal charges will stem from police conduct during this incident.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.