A Vancouver police officer is on leave after video surfaced of him punching a cyclist in the face during an arrest.
Andi Shae Akhavan was stopped by Vancouver police in Yaletown Tuesday night after he allegedly rode his bicycle through a red light. He was also not wearing a helmet or light at the time.
Akhavan's friend, Mike Schwarz, filmed the arrest and later posted it on Facebook and YouTube. In the video, Akhavan is standing on the street with two plainclothes officers handcuffing him. One officer is heard saying, "Relax your arm," and then is seen suddenly punching Akhavan in the side of his face.
"They started to write me up, and I basically said 'Don’t you guys have anything better to do? I'm only a block away from my house, I was only you know, just cruising home real quick,'" Akhavan told Global News.
Facebook photos show Akhavan sitting at the corner of Beatty and Smithe Streets being treated by firefighters. Akahvan told Global News that the punch broke his tooth and pierced his lip.
Akhavan was "allegedly confrontational with police upon being stopped," said Sgt. Randy Fincham in an email to The Huffington Post B.C. on Wednesday night.
The officer, who is currently on weekly leave, reported the incident to his supervisors, said Fincham. It's also been reported to the Professional Standards Section of the Vancouver police.
"Allegations of police misconduct are taken very seriously by the Vancouver Police Department," said Fincham.
Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said on Thursday: "Given the poor history of police investigation of alleged police misconduct in this province, we will be watching this investigation and its results very closely."
Akhavan was released on a promise to appear in court.
Akhavan says he's looking for a lawyer who will help him file a complaint, reported News 1130.
Schwarz said he filmed 10 minutes of the incident, but only 2:42 of it is posted on YouTube.
"He was arguing with them, but not threatening. He didn't raise his voice," said Schwarz in a Facebook post. "At the end he said 'This is bullshit,' and then they arrested him. That is when the video started."
Schwarz said he was really angry at first but realized he was better off to stay back and keep filming.
UPDATE - March 28, 2013: Vancouver police clarified that "weekly leave" means the officer is on his regular days off, reported News 1130.
See photos of the incident here: