CCTV:Canada,Calgary's police chief is ordering an internal probe after surveillance footage given to media appears to show an officer pushing a man down a flight of stairs in a downtown apartment building.
The footage shows three officers standing in a hallway of a tenement building over several people sitting on the floor.
Suddenly, an officer pulls a man toward some stairs and appears to put his knee into the man's back, causing him to tumble. Two officers then walk down the stairs after him.
The video, which has no sound, was recorded on Feb. 16 in a building at 115-7th Ave. S.W.
Aftab Hussain, who runs a convenience store one floor below the spot where the incident took place, gave the footage to the newspaper.
Police Chief Rick Hanson said Wednesday that the force had already received a complaint about the situation, so the video footage will be part of the internal investigation by the professional standards section.
"I viewed the videotape and in looking at it, it was clear that there's a number of unanswered questions and I've learned over many years of policing that you need both sides of the story," Hanson said.
"There's going to be so many pieces in this investigation — what prompted the police to be there? What's the history there? Who are those people? What do they say?"
No decisions will be made about the future of the officers seen on the tape until the internal investigation is completed, Hanson said.
The Calgary Police Association defended the officer, arguing that the tape doesn't tell the whole story and that appropriate force was used.
"He was not pushed down the stairs. He was not standing up and thus not in any jeopardy of tumbling head over heels," said John Dooks, the association's president.
"His feet were put in front of him by the officer prior to him exiting and going down the stairs and he descended the stairs on his own feet."
Dooks also said that the man, known as B.J. on the streets, had been physical with police prior to the incident on tape.
The Calgary Sun reported Wednesday that Hussain said he has a long-standing feud with officers in the neighbourhood.
Hussain pleaded not guilty to one count of selling an instrument for illicit drug use in a case that's still before the courts. The charge came during a crackdown on the sale of glass pipes used by addicts to smoke crack cocaine.
He told CBC News that he released the video to the media to prove police have been harassing him and the tenants to make them leave the building.
"They're using excessive force, they're taking law in their hands, they're beating very badly, anyone can see and it's unacceptable," he said.
Last May, footage of two Calgary officers dragging and punching a handcuffed suspect in the head during an arrest was anonymously sent to the police force and media outlets. The officers were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
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