A YouTube video of an Alberta RCMP officer kicking Richard Claybert in the face has sparked an investigation and caught the attention of the province.
According to a statement released by RCMP, three officers from the Cold Lake detachment responded to complaints of a noisy party in a parking lot of a community hall early Saturday, Sept. 22. While responding, one of the party organizers asked for police assistance in clearing the crowd. An intoxicated man refused to leave and two officers began the process of putting the man under arrest while the third officer continued crowd control. According to Metro Edmonton, it was the third time police were called to the hall that night.
RCMP have identified the man being arrested as 21-year-old Richard Claybert.
In the grainy, shaky footage posted to YouTube, Claybert appears face-down on the ground while two officers attempt to handcuff him. Onlookers taunt and yell at the officers and you can hear one man shouting "Seven-11 for the rest of your life, man. Seven-11," although it is not clear whether it is coming from a bystander or an officer.
(WARNING: This video contains offensive language)
At 21 seconds into the video Claybert lifts his head, turning to look at the officers. He shouts something inaudible and while in the middle of his sentence one of the officers kicks him squarely in the side of the head with his right foot. Seconds later the same officer attempts to kick Claybert again, this time hitting him in the chest.
The crowd erupts in angry cries and the offending officer then backs up and smacks his baton on the ground three times.
From there the officers pick up Claybert and take him off-camera. In the background you can hear one person asking the officer for his badge number.
“I can assure Albertans, and those involved, that I have been made aware of the video and have ordered a full review,” RCMP Supt. Randy McGinnis said in the statement. “While I understand my officers were confronted with a volatile and potentially dangerous situation, we will look into the incident to assess if police actions were warranted, appropriate, or excessive.
Claybert told the Edmonton Journal that he had brought his camper attached to a pickup truck to the party, and it was his intention to spend the night there. RCMP told Claybert to go home and that his truck and camper would be towed and impounded. An argument between Claybert and the officers ensued, reports CTV Edmonton.
Claybert, who is hearing impaired, told the Journal that his frustration was climbing and he walked away from the officers.
“And apparently the cop said as I was walking away that I was under arrest. I didn’t hear anything and my friends said they didn’t hear anything either,” he said.
It was then, Claybert told the Journal, that he was pepper sprayed in the face and hit on the back of the leg with a police baton
“Well they could have done it better, because, being hearing impaired, and then not being able to hear the cops when I walked away, and then turn around to be pepper sprayed, was kind of extreme,” Claybert told CTV Edmonton.
RCMP said they did not know Claybert was hearing impaired.
They have also verified that the officer in question is on leave and will face administrative duties when he returns to work.
Claybert is still deciding whether he will file an excessive force complaint, even though he claims to have suffered injuries to his ribs and legs. He is scheduled to appear in court in late November, according to CTV.
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