Eyewitness concerned about health of Moose Jaw man arrested after refusing to wear mask

·2 min read
Staff Sgt. Seman with the Moose Jaw Police wanted to clarify that the man was not arrested for failing to follow public health orders. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Staff Sgt. Seman with the Moose Jaw Police wanted to clarify that the man was not arrested for failing to follow public health orders. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)

An eyewitness of the arrest of a man at a Moose Jaw grocery store has concerns about the man's treatment at the hands of the police.

Police said they responded to a local grocery store on Friday after a report of a man not complying with a public health order. When the 59-year-old man was approached by officers, an altercation ensued and the man was restrained and arrested.

The eyewitness said that while she didn't see the confrontation directly, she was concerned for the man's health because when he was being escorted to the cruiser, he could barely stand by himself.

Moose Jaw Police Staff Sgt. Trish Seman said officers used a proportionate use of force in order to gain control of the situation.

"As a police officer, you have to go into a situation knowing that you have to be able to calm the incident or be ready for it to escalate or deescalate, so we go in using as much force as necessary to stop what is happening," Seman said.

"Once the officer was assaulted, then the use of force was matched in order to gain control and to minimize any other injury or anything that was going to happen in the store."

The man was charged with assaulting a police officer, obstruction and causing a disturbance, and he was ticketed under the public health order.

Seman wanted to clarify that the man was not arrested for failing to follow public health orders.

"We entered into an investigation with someone that was breaking the public health order, but he was actually arrested for his behaviour and actions upon us arriving there," she said.

Seman said no one was injured in the encounter and no officers had to isolate due to the incident.