Whitehorse Daily Star

RCMP want to hear from witnesses to arrest

Some Whitehorse residents are concerned the RCMP may have used excessive force in an incident at a downtown restaurant on Wednesday evening.

By Emily Blake on March 17, 2017

Some Whitehorse residents are concerned the RCMP may have used excessive force in an incident at a downtown restaurant on Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 7 p.m., Whitehorse RCMP responded to a request for assistance from Emergency Medical Services involving a man at the BBQ King restaurant off Third Avenue near Ogilvie Street.

Local resident Jordyn Carpenter was there with family members. She said the man was intoxicated and sleeping at a booth when they arrived.

She told the Star Thursday that the male and female RCMP officers on the scene appeared to recognize the man, as they referred to him by name.

“That (male) cop twisted the guy’s arm behind his back and started trying to restrain him,” she said.

“The man was drunk, obviously, and sleeping, and he just woke up to that and freaked out and was trying to fight back and defend himself,” Carpenter said.

“He just woke up, so I don’t think he knew what was going on. I think he was scared, and after they started hurting him; he was trying to defend himself.”

She caught two short video clips from across the restaurant of the RCMP restraining the man which have been shared with the Star.

The first video, 10 seconds long, shows the man trying to stand and get past the officers as they flank him.

The male officer can be heard saying, “Don’t fight, Richard” as the trio struggles and the man falls back on the booth with the male officer behind him.

“The male cop had to, like, climb out from underneath, and the female cop was holding the other guy’s hand telling him to stop resisting, but I think he was just trying to get up and try to get them to stop twisting his wrist,” said Carpenter.

She said she decided to film the incident out of her concern for the safety of the man involved.

“If you know you’re being filmed, then you’re not going to do things that you know you’re not supposed to do,” she said.

“I’ve seen people be arrested by cops and I’ve seen them get hurt and there’s witnesses, but you can’t prove that a cop did something because if they say they didn’t, you’re not going to believe the other person.”

Between recordings, Carpenter said the male officer punched the man “a couple of times,” but she was not able to capture that, as they were obscured from view behind a table.

When they moved back into view, she recorded the second video, a 12-second clip that has been causing concern among some who have viewed it.

The man and two officers are shown struggling on the floor as he yells, “Hey! Don’t grab my (inaudible) please!”

While the female officer has a hand on the man’s shoulder and head, the male officer is over top of him holding his hand.

The officer uses his free hand to land a hard punch squarely on the man’s head. He then pulls the man’s hand behind his back.

Carpenter can be heard saying, “Oh! Don’t punch him, holy!” at which point a paramedic steps into the frame, holds up her hand and says, “Hey guys, can we not take videos?”

The recording stops, and Carpenter says the officers then removed the man from the restaurant.

“After that, he kind of seemed a little dazed because the cop had punched him a couple of times and he was a little out of it, so they could actually get him out of the restaurant,” she said.

Yukon RCMP said in a press release issued late this morning that they have been provided the video and that no injuries were reported to either the man nor responding police officers.

The 12-second clip has been circulating on Facebook, and was shared 160 times with more than 50 comments on the original post.

Carpenter said she is glad the video is being shared, and hopes it will raise awareness about concerns over police use of force.

“I think just having the video shown and showing that police do kind of take it further than necessary and continuing to show and prove that might help,” she said.

Many of the video comments express shock, and say that the punch was unnecessary.

But several noted the video only shows a portion of the incident, and a handful say the man was resisting and the use of force wasn’t excessive.

Carpenter said she feels the punches weren’t necessary.

“I think just because that guy fell on top of the cop and he was a bigger man, the cop had gotten scared and thought it was necessary to punch him,” she said.

“But I don’t think that man was trying to hurt that cop; he wasn’t trying to swing at him, he was just yelling.

“He was like, ‘Please let go of my wrist, please.’ And you could hear him saying, ‘I can’t move my arm. I can’t get my arm behind my back.’”

She added she thinks the officers could have handled the incident better.

“I think if they would’ve woken him up differently or approached the situation from the beginning in a different manner, then they wouldn’t have had to do that,” she said.

“He was just looking for somewhere warm to sleep and they just woke him up, and I would be terrified if I got woken up like that.”

Carpenter was left shaken after witnessing the incident, but is thankful that her daughter slept through it.

“I think she would’ve been terrified if she was awake,” she said.

“After that happened, I didn’t even want to eat there; I just felt sick; that was really disturbing to watch.”

Police say the 31-year-old local man appeared in territorial court Thursday to face charges of uttering threats, failing to comply with a probation order, theft under $5,000, mischief, and assaulting a police officer.

He has been remanded in custody pending his next court appearance on April 5.

Insp. Archie Thompson, the officer in charge of the RCMP Whitehorse detachment, is asking any witnesses, bystanders, or anyone with additional video who have not already spoken to police, to contact the RCMP at 667-5555.

Comments (33)

Up 4 Down 3

Yukon56 on Mar 23, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Hank you are a piece of work. What do you condone, everyone armed and taking the law into their own hands or expect all to be model citizens? Wake up and realize the RCMP are here to make ALL our lives better.

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westofbelfast on Mar 22, 2017 at 9:10 am

BTW, were the officers not wearing body-cams? I know that Conservation Officers wear them while on patrol.

Up 7 Down 20

Kind of curious on Mar 21, 2017 at 11:46 pm

* Just to add one thing:

My usual motto is, "It's easier to criticize it's harder to construct."

A simple solution to this problem. Have a plain clothed officer go to the person first and do a quick check on them. Ask them to politely leave without giving away that they're a police officer. The other RCMP officers can be close but are better to be elusive. There are numerous officers in town that walk around in plain clothes and provide themselves as witnesses to police events. They drive Honda Odysseys, Dodge Caravans, and other "seemingly" regular vehicles. They are outfitted with radios and scanners. The drivers range in age from 70 - 30 When the police are called to a scene they show up to monitor the situation and provide statements.

Why not send one of those in first?

Personally, dealing with drunks is a regular occurrence in the Yukon. It's easy when you don't have an attitude of "I'm in control, they have to listen to me." When dealing with a drunk, my standpoints are simple,
- They are on MY private property that is accessible to the public
- They are a person and can harm me just as much as I can harm them
- They are causing a disturbance (usually in my case, sleeping ones I usually just wake up and ask/tell them to move along) to my patrons.

This might be a better idea versus encouraging these sadomasochist tendencies.

Up 8 Down 18

Let's not forget on Mar 21, 2017 at 9:59 pm

RCMP + the native community goes to Hollywood

Don't the police have anything else to do?" she said. "There are two police cars, two officers, a whole film crew for this one poor unfortunate woman."
Funny they don't want the public filming, but were willing to be filmed if it made them famous; only after community leaders + gov commented did they stop filming.

Up 15 Down 2

Rogers on Mar 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

@kind of curious

I would assume it is because someone "complained" therefor it has to be looked into regardless of the initial proof of the allegation.
If the guy being arrested complained that he felt the cop shouldn't have punched him. 100% let's look into it. (Not saying the cop was or wasn't wrong but as a matter of policy). But when something like this gains this much social justice fame from the same 10% of the population the RCMP can't just sit back and ignore it all together even if the outcome is all but predetermined.

Up 38 Down 11

jc on Mar 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm

I think. I think. I think. It's witnesses like Carpenter that give police a bad name. I was a peace officer myself years ago and know what it's like to restrain someone known to be violent. I wonder what Carpenter would be saying if the police had to use force to protect her from a violent person? Stick up for the perp of course.

Up 18 Down 3

Sacallison on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Thank you Hank Rearden, for your intelligent and insightful comments. I often wonder if people would make the ridiculous comments that they do on the internet if we could see their faces.

Up 10 Down 23

Mark on Mar 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm

In response to Truth is.....I would suggest that if you film something like this, that you post it on the internet as fast as you can before the RCMP seize it and possibly delete it.

Up 14 Down 5

Kind of Curious on Mar 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm

What does the RCMP expect from the public voicing concerns or hearing from them?

The Civilian Review Commission for Complaints against the RCMP has already stated that, "Unless the complaint comes from the person themselves then it's unlikely that anything was done that was inappropriate." (Not verbatim, however it is the truth. Constable Cormier was reported on for assaulting a man after he had been in a car accident, photo's corroborate this, The RCMP found no fault + the review commission found no fault and one of the key reasons being that the victim never filed the complaint)

Up 44 Down 4

westofbelfast on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

"that was really disturbing to watch.”

So then she decides to post it on-line. Reminds me of an incident a few years back when I witnessed an accident between a truck and a motorcycle in which the driver and passenger on the bike went under the front of the cement truck which thankfully was not going very fast. However, they were both injured and under the truck and myself and a doctor from across the street went under the truck to help them. Meanwhile, at least 20 people on the street corner in Vancouver stood by with their phones and filmed the aftermath of the accident and I had to yell at them to make sure somebody had taken a few seconds to call 911. A disturbing trend in our society. Frankly the partial take on this story shown in her video actually does a disservice to all involved and is irresponsible.

Up 53 Down 11

ben on Mar 20, 2017 at 4:46 am

I am grateful for police, and you couldn't pay me enough to do their job. It seems as if police are under more and more scrutiny, and it is amazing that RCMP manage to find any recruits at all with all of the experts with iphones in the world. Police do have training in a whole range of things, training that we members of the public generally don't, so we're not in a position to comment on what an officer's training should dictate they do. The officer throws one punch (it's not a frenzied attack, it's a single punch and it's not even very hard), the punch has the right effect (either smartens the guy up or stuns him a little), and they're able to arrest him fairly quickly without anybody getting hurt.

Up 36 Down 7

Truth is on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Truth is. Yes the public and this lady do have the right to film police in situations like this. Do they have a duty to as some would suggest?..I would say no. But if they chose to that is fine. They also have the right help the police as well...certainly no duty to, but that is also an option. Should the emt have stepped in the way?...moot point and not worth arguing. But as the person has the right to film the paramedic has the right to ask them not to as well...she can't make her stop however obviously.
The funny thing is... this lady filmed this matter and published it herself online (so it would seem) and I'm sure she didn't consult the individual being arrested before she did so. She ever think that this guy may not want a video of him being passed out and arrested plastered all over the Internet? Did the guy that got arrested complain of excessive force or is this girl doing it for him?
I'm not a cop but do work in law enforcement just be mindful that if you do choose to video something like this. The police can 100% seize your phone as evidence. FYI.
As far as the punch, hard to make an educated opinion not knowing the whole situation. But from what I've seen and read so far, seems fine to me. Doesn't offend me it happened.

Up 22 Down 57

catherine on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Male RCMP officer clearly could have handled the situation better. We need RCMP who are trained to act like professionals. They clearly knew this person, so why the heavy handedness? Why was it not handed better? Next problem - since when is it a EMS persons job to tell someone not to video this scene, then deliberately step in the way to block the view? Way out of line.

All take- downs by police should be taped and members of the public have every right to be involved.

Up 59 Down 14

Rod on Mar 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

I love all the cry babies who say "ftp" and they use to much force! It's sad we don't get to see what happens before the start of this video or his criminal record! I for one am thankful for the service the police provide. Obey the laws and you will never have issues with the police! In fact maybe take the time and go say hello to a few.... They really aren't the anti Christ! I'm willing to bet that the people who say "ftp" and call them down would be the first ones calling them if they were in trouble!

Up 18 Down 31

Hank Rearden on Mar 19, 2017 at 1:46 am

Incidents involving the RCMP
All these below have been killed or died while under arrest by the RCMP
A litany of deaths – June 1 2010 – Whitehorse Star
Robert Stone – May 24th 2010
Fred Stewart – March 22 2000
John Tibbett jR –
Heather Benson

How many RCMP have been killed or assaulted in the Yukon?
And I don’t mean the training that teaches RCMP, “When your partner is engaged with an individual, begin saying “stop resisting, stop resisting…”

From there we can look at the history of RCMP in the North,
“Stargazer night tours” And finally here,
Read McLeans

Even the head of the RCMP has came out publicly claiming that the RCMP has a problem with sexual harassment, racism, and violence.
Keep in mind the named examples above are specific to the Yukon. The larger problems with RCMP continue down through Northern B.C. into the Cities and shoot across the country all the way to P.E.I (usually left off the map). For all of those that are condoning this behavior and are saying “try being in their shoes.”
What if I told you I was and left?

It’s not a police agency, it’s a brotherhood that covers for itself time and time again.
The only defense the public has in court is their word, audio, and video. Removing their only defense against the word of a police officer is completely outrageous. You can call them the paparazzi, another walking camera, a P.I. in disguise… or you can realize these are people that are genuinely afraid and are utilizing the only tool at their disposal.
Congrats and thank you to whomever took the video… Maybe the police will act different if they know people are watching and they are being recorded. Highly doubtful
...as there is no agency watching them.

Up 51 Down 10

Stephan on Mar 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Yes, I commented before I seen the videos. I had read her account and it seemed he was on the bottom when he threw the punch. But when I watched the videos the punch I seen he was on top.

As far as your question as to since when it was ok for a cop to punch someone. While I think the better question is since when is it ok to fight with the police? But since you brought it up...it has never been illegal under proper circumstances for a police officer to punch someone fighting with them. It is allowed.
I have since watched both videos seemingly available. Including what appeared to be the first contact. He didn't seem to be woken up in a violent manner as suggests. And he (from my view of what I seen so far) started and escalated it to a fight.

Bottom line....it is ALWAYS an option to stop fighting with the police. However it is NEVER an option for the police to stop arresting someone and leave.
I find it interesting that people seem to think that because police spend time in training that it gives them super powers of negotiation and that every violent person can be talked down. Or their training makes them ninjas in combat or something. Any of you ever tried putting handcuffs on someone that doesn't want to wear them? I haven't but it doesn't look like fun...or look easy. These people are human just like you and I, just they deal with what we don't want to as a society.

To ms carpenter...yes he wanted or found a warm place to sleep. More so to pass out in a public family restaurant. Where do you think the police were going to take him?? A place for him to sleep which wasn't a family restaurant.

Up 59 Down 12

Joe on Mar 18, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Thank you to the police officers who keep us safe. We really appreciate it.

Up 44 Down 13

ProScience Greenie on Mar 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Sometimes cops cross the line and too often get away with it so we must be vigilant. However that was not the case here. The cops were familiar with the passed out person meaning that he was familiar with the cops and had amble opportunity to get up and get out on his own with them. He was after all passed out in a BBQ joint. As far as the wrestling and punches goes, with the amount of needles and crazy hard drugs out there I'd be punching someone to get them off me.

The paramedic needs to be taken aside and reminded that there is nothing wrong with the public videoing such action. Some may disagree but we need that. Accountability is a good thing. It is our right as the police and all public servants work for us not the other way around.

To the person that took the video, maybe they should spend a few shifts driving around with the cops to see just how much crap they put up with. Whitehorse has a nasty ugly side and is getting worse.

Up 13 Down 53

Jonathan Colby on Mar 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

Et tu, BnR? Poors don't deserve dignity or the benefit of the doubt, they just need to be ushered out of the public eye in a manner that reinforces a culture of disrespect towards them, right? Gross.
Personally, I'm waiting for more witnesses and details to emerge to solidify any opinion, but any police officer that approaches a non-threatening situation with violence is poorly trained and/or unfit for duty. I grew up a witness to Yukoners general contempt for intoxicated and downtrodden persons, and not a damn thing has changed.

Up 60 Down 10

ben on Mar 18, 2017 at 5:39 am

I have seen the videos. There are 2 very short videos that show very little, and show nothing before the incident. One of the videos does show the police waking the guy up, and asking "What's wrong with you?", before the guy starts to push the officer. The officer then says "Don't fight Richard". Guess what....he fights and the cops use force. It all looked fairly straightforward to me. It was interesting that Miss Carpenter didn't post that section of video right away on her facebook profile.......she went straight to the rolling around on the floor, man getting punched video.

Up 61 Down 10

Just Say'in on Mar 18, 2017 at 12:31 am

The police have a very hard and apparently thankless job to do. If we keep it up folks, we won't have any cops, and then who will respond when we need it. This guy has likely been arrested a hundred times before. Like they say "known to the police". They know who and what they are dealing with, let them do their job. Thank-You to the officers.

Up 14 Down 54

It's me ;-) on Mar 17, 2017 at 11:04 pm

I have never cried where was the police when I needed them? I have however wished there were cameras when I had been detained and handcuffed and thrown down by three officers. And showing this video and bringing awareness to the fact that some cops do abuse there power might bring some actions to make the officers behave better. Knowing they are being watched...

Up 15 Down 63

Sacallison on Mar 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Anybody remember Raymond Silverfox?? This would not be the first time in recent history that the RCMP were "insensitive " to one of the more vulnerable members of society.

Up 14 Down 56

Concerned on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Clearly Stephan you need to watch the video again. The officer was on top and not the other way around. Excessive force was not necessary. Since when is it ok for an RCMP officer to punch someone? They are trained to handle these situations differently. And a message to the paramedic - since when is it your job to tell people to not video tape what happened? Give your head a shake. You were called there for a reason - the wellbeing of the intoxicated man.

BnR - the intoxicated man didn't grab a knife so don't fan the flames. Deal with what occurred in this situation. Given what has been in the media about the RCMP locally and at a national level they deserve all the scrutiny they get. Police are given a lot of power and it's our jobs as citizens to make sure they don't abuse that power. I use to hold the RCMP in very high regard but I don't anymore. They are accountable to the citizens they serve.

Up 44 Down 6

June Jackson on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:16 pm

If people are so concerned.. why did they whip out their cameras and phones and get video..I am so glad those cops didn't kill the drunk because evidently NO ONE was going to put down their cell phones and say.. hey..don't you think that's a little harsh? Or.. don't call the cops, I'll help this poor drunk get home..he can stay at my house till he sobers up.. Jordyn Carpenter was right there and chose to get her 15 minutes of pitiful fame with her cell phone than to even say stop to the RCMP that she THOUGHT were using excessive force.. I don't see it anywhere that she has training in interpreting just what constitutes excessive force, but its obvious anyway that neither she or anyone in that restaurant were going to help the guy They photographed it.. You saw a fellow man that you thought was in trouble..and did nothing to stop it.. Shame on you.

Up 47 Down 3

Thomas Brewer on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm

I'm thinking the arrestee, Richard, would likely have been "a little dazed" from being so hammered he was sleeping in a restaurant... at noon.

Up 49 Down 5

Too easy. on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Guess what. As much as some are blissfully ignorant of, the world is sometimes a dangerous place. And violence can't always be met with flowers and handwritten letters spritzed with a nice perfume. Just viewed one of the videos. Leads me to the following conclusion. Don't be a douche bag and the police will never enter your life.

Up 40 Down 5

Stephan on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

So with little research I found it interesting that I found the following items below copied and pasted from the Criminal Code of Canada, turns out fighting with the RCMP is actually a crime; contrary to sweethearts opinion. Who knew??

Offences relating to public or peace officer
129 Every one who
(a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,

Assaulting a peace officer
270 (1) Every one commits an offence who
(a) assaults a public officer or peace officer engaged in the execution of his duty or a person acting in aid of such an officer;
(b) assaults a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or another person; or

Shocking I know

Up 49 Down 9

Matt on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Thumbs down to pro police/anti-criminal comments = by criminals and left utopian society emotional thinkers.
Thumbs up comments to pro police/anti-criminal comments = by actual logical rational folks who contribute to society and live in the real world.

Among others my parents taught me two very important lessons when I was young. 1. Respect the police. 2. Listen to the police. Perhaps we should get back to that, yes? Maybe just don't fight... well...maybe don't land yourself in trouble to require previous court conditions...then don't breech them by getting drunk....then don't pass out in a public restaurant...THEN don't fight with the police..another lesson my parents taught me that the obvious solution is usually the right one...maybe don't fight?

Thank you to the police.

Up 59 Down 5

Rogers on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:13 pm

You know something that I have noticed in my 35 years of arrest free living? Don't do stupid things and you won't be arrested..... Follow up observation...if by chance you are arrested for something you did or didn't do...don't fight with the police and you won't get hurt. It is actually pretty simple. I don't see anything afoul here. Shame on the man, shame on the girl who complained....tip of the hat to the police.

Up 58 Down 7

Mark on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Watched the video. I didn't see anything that concerned me....the guy was clearly resisting arrest...you can even hear the female officer breathing hard...which means it was even after a slightly prolonged struggle... Not sure when people will get the hint that you can't fight with the police...no matter what you did, or didn't do. The guy is 100% in the wrong (judging by his previous court conditions....not his first bad decision). The restaurant owners asked for this guy to be removed....they tried, he fought, they won. End of story. Must be nice to let other people do societies dirty work.

This is a dead end story...it won't go anywhere...I'll bet my house on it....cops were in the right (unless something really egregious happens off camera but I didn't hear any allegations of anything different).

The real world can be dangerous....that is a fact. Thank you to these officers for what they do..shame on the girl for defending fighting with the police. At some point that police are evil narrative has to be left in the dust...let's try backing the people that go to bat for us everyday.

Up 129 Down 29

Stephan on Mar 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm

So drunk guy on court conditions fights with the police while resisting arrest....manages to or by accident lands on top on the officer while resisting arrest. The officer punches him while in a very vulnerable position with a resisting suspect (not causing injury) the drunk man is contained and brought to jail.
Doesn't matter if they should have woken him up differently....ever think they know him....dealt with him before? Maybe he is known to be violent and waking him up by having him in handcuffs is the best plan? Maybe the lady didn't think of that as she was having her tea and crumpets.
Gotcha...why are we bothering with this?

Up 141 Down 43

BnR on Mar 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Perhaps Miss Jordan would have preferred if the police didn't show up and allowed the drunk to perhaps grab a knife and go berserk? Then there would have been cries of "where are the police when we need them"?
I wouldn't want to be a police officer these days, too many "concerned citizens" with smart phones ready to criticize their every move.
I for one want to thank our RCMP, I know what they put up with day after day keeping citizens safe.

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