Ottawa police have launched an internal investigation after an officer was captured on video allegedly punching a man in the face outside of a local homeless shelter.
The incident occurred outside of the Salvation Army on George Street at about 4 p.m. ET on Monday and the video was posted to LiveLeak老域名购买 on Tuesday.
Const. Chuck Benoit confirmed that Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau had authorized the probe, but said there would be no further comment because the matter is now subject to an ongoing investigation.
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The clip is brief and grainy, showing an officer standing over a man laying prone on the sidewalk. The men appear to exchange a few words and suddenly the officer punches the man on the sidewalk in the face, snapping his head back toward the pavement. A second short clip shows the officer walking back to his vehicle.
There is no indication what happened in the minutes leading up to the physical attack, or what the conflict was about.
An unnamed source who was reportedly at the scene told CBC News that the man had been yelling racial slurs at the officer who allegedly threw the punch. Those reports have not been confirmed.
Benoit said both officers on the tape had been identified but their names are not being released. The department is asking anyone with information to contact them.
@ianmurchison ok. We’re looking into this. Anyone with info can call us at 613-236-1222 ext 5830
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) October 20, 2015
The Salvation Army and the person who filmed the incident were not immediately available for comment. The president of the Ottawa Police Association, the union representing the officers, was also not available for comment.
Incidents involving alleged police misbehaviour caught on cellphone cameras have become more frequent in recent years.
Last winter, an officer in Montreal was caught threatening to tie a homeless man to a post in frigid weather.
In 2013, three officers in Ottawa were filmed forcing an aggressive man to the ground in the ByWard Market.
The video showed one officer punching the man in the upper body and head area as many as a dozen times while he was being held down.
The Ottawa Police Professional Standards Section investigated, but found that there was no evidence to support any charges against the officers involved.