Kelowna RCMP have launched an internal investigation into the actions of an officer seen during a brief video repeatedly punching a suspect while the man is being restrained by two other officers.
The 12-second video shows a portion of a Saturday night arrest after police allegedly responded to a report of an intoxicated man who was found inside a vehicle.
Kelowna RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle said in a news conference that the man was unco-operative and struggled with two officers as they attempted to arrest him.
Mundle said the suspect clenched his fists and refused to co-operate with the officers, so they called a third officer for backup.
The video catches the third officer arriving in a police vehicle and running to where the man is struggling with the two officers.
The officer — whose identity has not been released — immediately appears to start punching the suspect in the head.
“Obviously in the short duration of the video, the action is concerning,” Mundle told reporters.
“It’s important when I review these matters that I look at the full incident and what happened prior and after so that I can fully understand before coming to a judgment.”
The officer who is under investigation has three years’ service. The internal investigation will make a determination with respect to his duty status.
Mundle said police are trained to use physical force when circumstances demand including “strikes.” But he didn’t say whether officers are specifically trained to punch someone in the head to subdue them.
“I recognize that the tactics seen in this video are shocking to many people,” Mundle told reporters.
“Any time an officer is required to apply a use-of-force option during an arrest it can appear disturbing.”
Mundle said the internal review will include a code of conduct investigation.
The suspect was taken to police station cells for processing and then transported to hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released. Mundle said a criminal investigation into his actions is still ongoing.