Edmonton police officer charged with assault in violent arrest of truck thief

·2 min read
A still image from one video shows Kyle Parkhurst surrounded by police officers during the incident in 2019. (@spinspinsvgar/Twitter - image credit)
A still image from one video shows Kyle Parkhurst surrounded by police officers during the incident in 2019. (@spinspinsvgar/Twitter - image credit)

More than two years after an Edmonton police officer was captured on cellphone and security video repeatedly kicking and then throwing a truck thief head first into a brick wall, Alberta's Crown prosecution service has charged the officer with assault.

In a news release issued Friday, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) announced Const. Dylan Awid has been charged with one count of assault in the violent arrest of Kyle Parkhurst on June 11, 2019.

Parkhurst's defence lawyer, Mark Jordan, questions why it took so long to lay a charge and why the officer only faces a charge of simple assault.

"There was video evidence that showed the assault," Jordan said, adding that the video evidence was undisputed.

Jordan said he was surprised Awid wasn't charged with aggravated assault "because my opinion throughout was that the officer's actions endangered my client's life."

ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson declined comment because the matter is now before the courts.

Captured on video by at least two onlookers, a bald EPS police officer, now identified as Awid, is seen looking over both shoulders before repeatedly kicking a prone Parkhurst, who had been Tasered by that point.

The officer then yanks Parkhurst — who was handcuffed — to his feet, places his hand on the back of his neck, and slams him head first into a brick wall. The same officer later delivered an elbow smash to Parkhurst's head before violently shoving him into the side of a police cruiser.

Parkhurst is also suing Awid, six other police officers including Chief Dale McFee, Alberta Health Services and the Alberta government for $100,000.

Lawsuit filed against Edmonton police

The lawsuit, filed in August, alleges EPS officers used excessive force against Parkhurst, injured him, and then the EPS and the Edmonton Remand Centre unlawfully withheld medical treatment.

The lawsuit alleges Parkhurst made dozens of written requests for treatment for severe headaches, numbness and tingling in his legs and torso and mental health issues.

Despite this, the lawsuit alleges Parkhurst was only seen once by a doctor in October 2019.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and no statement of defence has been filed.

Edmonton police relinquished the initial assault investigation to ASIRT a day after CBC News published a story that revealed the EPS was being allowed to conduct its own criminal investigation, a fact which the EPS had not disclosed in previous media communications.

In December 2019, the Crown admitted Parkhurst had been the victim of excessive force. A judge accepted a joint submission and sentenced Parkhurst to three-and-a-half years in prison on 28 charges related to a methamphetamine-fuelled crime spree that involved fleeing from police in stolen vehicles.

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