RCMP officer in High Level Alta., under investigation for use of force

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An RCMP officer is under investigation for use of force during an arrest of an allegedly intoxicated man at a High Level, Alta., hotel on May 11, 2022. (Kayla Marie/ Facebook - image credit)
An RCMP officer is under investigation for use of force during an arrest of an allegedly intoxicated man at a High Level, Alta., hotel on May 11, 2022. (Kayla Marie/ Facebook - image credit)

A northern Alberta RCMP officer has been placed on administrative duty following the circulation of videos showing the officer repeatedly striking a person on the ground during an arrest.

RCMP have confirmed that videos posted to Facebook show an arrest outside the Flamingo Inn in High Level, Alta., on Wednesday afternoon.

In the short videos, an RCMP officer is visible repeatedly punching and kneeing a man who is on the ground, under arrest. The person does not appear to be resisting in the videos, but during a news conference on Thursday, Chief Supt. Sean Curry said the force was used to get the man under control.

Curry, who is the officer in charge of the western district of the Alberta RCMP, said a lone officer responded to the hotel after receiving a complaint of intoxicated people causing a disturbance.

On arrival, it's alleged that the officer identified a man who they believed was causing the problem and tried to arrest him but that he refused to follow commands. Police allege the man was intoxicated.

Curry said a "physical interaction" occurred, and that a second officer arrived and things got under control.

The man was taken into custody. Curry said that three hours later he was assessed by EMS and taken to hospital. He was later released and isn't facing any criminal charges.

Curry said the use of force by the officer is now under review, both internally and by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates serious incidents involving the province's police.

"We take actions like the ones we've seen in the social media video very seriously," Curry said, adding that the officer has been moved to administrative duties.

Curry would not say who the man is or what community he is from, but did say that RCMP have been in touch with Indigenous leaders in the northern community to discuss what happened and to assure them that the use of force will be investigated in a transparent way.

High Level is about 740 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

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