Officials at the University of Western Ontario in London [my hometown — mb] are defending the violent arrest of a student that was captured on video and posted on YouTube.
The video, shot on Wednesday at the university’s social sciences building, shows what appears to be five campus and police officers surrounding the man and pinning him to the ground.
The officers knee and punch the student several times before they are able to restrain him.
They appear to be trying to put handcuffs on the man while repeatedly shouting, “Stop resisting!”
Elgin Austen, the head of campus police, told a news conference Thursday that by the time he arrived during the arrest, he didn’t see “anything out of order” with the level of force being applied.
“It was being conducted consistent with the Ontario Police College and the training that officers have there.”
Yeah, um if repeatedly walloping someone on the ground is “consistent with the Ontario Police College and the training that officers have there,” perhaps we need to reconsider what we are teaching our law enforcement officials. Then again, who are you gonna believe — some PR flack, or your lyin’ eyes? As Austen helpfully notes, ‘people seeing just the video alone “may not understand what the officers were actually doing.”‘
Of course, some would beg to differ with Austen’s spin objective analysis of the situation.
Over at the Law is Cool blog, former police officer Ryan Venables provides his take on whether the officers in question went too far in their brutal efforts to “restrain” 22 year old Western student Irnes Zelijkovic:
After having viewed the video, and from my experiences and past training, I see NO REASON why one of the officers applied force to the middle and upper portions of Mr. Zeljkovic’s back and neck with his asp baton. Officers are trained to specifically NOT to use this hard impact weapon on areas where significant damage could be caused (i.e. neck, forearms, and head) because of the risk to the suspect. While an actively resisting suspect is a very dynamic situation, in my humble opinion this exceeded the appropriate options available to this officer.
Special thanks to my buddy Albert for the heads up