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Courtesy CTV NEWS
A Cold Lake RCMP constable is under investigation
after a video surfaced Tuesday of a violent arrest near the northern
Alberta city over the weekend.
Three officers from the Cold Lake
detachment responded around 1 a.m. Saturday to a complaint of 100
intoxicated people causing a disturbance in the parking lot of a
community hall where a birthday party was being held, RCMP said Tuesday
in a statement. Video of the arrest captured by an onlooker and uploaded
to YouTube on Sunday shows an RCMP officer kicking a man in the face.
video shows the struggle, with two officers attempting to put two sets
of cuffs on the subject, with one of the officers kicking the subject in
the face with his right foot," the statement says.
launched an investigation into the officer's conduct and will determine
whether he used excessive force while arresting the man, RCMP said.
can assure Albertans, and those involved, that I have been made aware
of the video and have ordered a full review," RCMP Supt. Randy McGinnis
said in the statement. "While I understand my officers were confronted
with a volatile and potentially dangerous situation, we will look into
the incident to assess if police actions were warranted, appropriate, or
The officers were responding to a complaint from
one of the party organizers who asked for help in dispersing the crowd.
When RCMP began trying to clear the crowd, an intoxicated man refused to
leave and became aggressive, RCMP said. Two of the officers focused on
arresting the man, while the third controlled the crowd that had
The man, 21-year-old Richard Claybert, says it started
when RCMP told the crowd they had to leave the area. Claybert had been
at the birthday party and was planning to sleep in the camper attached
to his pickup truck in the parking lot. He says RCMP told him he would
have to find another way home and that truck would be towed and
"I got kind of frustrated, so I turned away to
walk away from it," said Claybert, who is hearing impaired. "And
apparently the cop said as I was walking away that I was under arrest. I
didn't hear anything and my friends said they didn't hear anything
Claybert says when he turned around again, he was
pepper sprayed in the face. He was also hit with a police baton on the
back of his leg. Claybert continued to argue with the officers before he
gave in, he said Tuesday.
"Finally I just kind of got
frustrated and wanted it to end, so I got down on my stomach and put my
hands behind my back," he said.
The 54-second video, uploaded to
YouTube on Sunday, begins when Claybert is already on the ground with
his hands behind his back. Two RCMP officers are kneeling next to
Claybert, who is lying on his stomach in front of a red pickup truck.
The officers were attempting to arrest Claybert for causing a
disturbance, but RCMP said he wouldn't comply with their demands and
continued to act aggressively.
A crowd of onlookers shout at the officers as they try to place Claybert under arrest.
what's your name?" shouts one person. "What's your badge number?"
another shouts. Others in the crowd swear, jeer and heckle the officers.
halfway through the video, Claybert turns his head toward the officers
and shouts something that can't be fully deciphered.
One of the
officers then brings his leg forward and kicks Claybert in the face,
eliciting a loud reaction from the crowd of onlookers. The officer then
kicks him again.
"Who else wants to get arrested," a third officer asks the crowd. The video ends with Claybert being taken away in handcuffs.
RCMP say they didn't know Claybert was hearing impaired, but that he continued to struggle even while he was on the ground.
said he suffered bruises to his face, the back of his leg and a rib. He
said he is facing charges for public intoxication and resisting arrest
and was released the following morning. He is slated to appear in Cold
Lake provincial court on Oct. 24.
The officer in question is currently on leave and will be assigned to administrative duties when he returns to work, RCMP said.
While a public complaint hasn't been filed, Claybert said he is glad the officer is being investigated.
"I think that's the right thing to do," he said. He plans to consult with a lawyer before deciding whether to file a complaint.
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