A video of police punching an 64-year-old man in Guelph, Ontario has surfaced after a passerby noticed a scuffle between the man and an officer on the porch of a residence.
Speaking to the Guelph Mercury Tribune, 28-year-old witness Christopher Cliffe described how he became aware of the incident while he was out getting groceries on the afternoon of Jan. 12, in the city located about an hour southwest of Toronto.
“It felt terrible. To stand there and to watch this, and to not be able to do anything, and to know that if I stepped in, I'd be arrested,” Cliffe told the Tribune.
After capturing the events on video, Cliffe filed a complaint regarding the arrest with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
Guelph police released the following statement:
On January 12, 2021, at 1:13pm, members of the Guelph Police Service found an adult male out front of a residence located near the intersection of Stevenson Street North and Grange Street in the City of Guelph. The male was wanted on a warrant from the Huronia West Division of the Ontario Provincial Police.
As police tried to arrest the male, a struggle ensued as he resisted arrest. Ultimately police were able to gain control and placed him under arrest.
A 64-year-old Guelph male has been additionally charged with Resist Arrest. He will appear in court on April 30, 2021 to answer to this charge and was subsequently released.
According to Cliffe, before he started recording, he heard the officer tell the man that he was under arrest for failing to appear in court. He said the man then asked the officer if he could go inside to check his paperwork, but the officer denied the request.
“I mean, [the arrestee] wasn't going 100 per cent easy, but he wasn't putting up much of a fight... You can see in the video he grabs the cop around the knee, but that's already after the cop hit him several times,” Cliffe said. “There was absolutely no justification for the level of aggression that that officer brought to the situation.”