Man punched during arrest in Saskatoon had been arrested earlier: police union

SASKATOON — The Saskatoon Police Association says a man seen in a video being repeatedly punched by an officer during his arrest had been apprehended on another matter earlier the same day.

There has been criticism of police after a 6 1/2-minute video of the Saturday arrest was posted to YouTube.

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The footage shows an officer punching the man several times after struggling with him on the ground before more police arrive.

The association says that before police had responded to the location about a suspicious person, officers received a complaint about the man allegedly exposing himself to someone in the community.

The man was apprehended and released.

The service has said the main officer involved in the recorded arrest is on leave while there is a review into his use of force.

The association says it expects the officer to be back on regular duties next week.

Advocates in Saskatoon have described the arrest an example of police violence and called for the officers involved to be fired.

But police association president Dean Pringle said in a statement that some activists have "jumped to conclusions," as the video fails to capture the context of the interaction.

He said the man in the video was resisting arrest while trying to grab equipment from the officer's belt, which could have further escalated matters.

"The simple fact is that use-of-force never looks good. However, it is the last resort for our officers."

Pringle said people should withhold their judgment until the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission completes its investigation.

"Obviously, recent events around policing in North America have people concerned right now, and our members fully understand why there is increased scrutiny in these events," he said.

"We believe strongly that a fulsome investigation will show that our officers acted appropriately given the circumstances."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020

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