Laval police officer's conduct questioned after head-butting video goes viral

Published Dec. 30, 2018 6:45 p.m. ET
Updated Dec. 31, 2018 10:04 a.m. ET
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A video of a physical altercation and arrest involving Laval police is raising questions, including by some eyewitnesses who filmed it.

It happened on Friday afternoon when police were responding to a breaking-and-entering call. 

The series of videos – originally posted to Instagram stories – show a police officer head-butting a man, then kicking him once he falls to the ground.

Police say there’s more to the situation than the physical altercation. 

Genevieve Major, a spokesperson for Laval Police, claims the suspect grabbed a pair of handcuffs from the police officer and tried to use them as brass knuckles.

The officer, in turn, tried to shield himself, injuring his hand – and that’s when she says he struck back. 

“With all the context, the officer reacted well – in the sense that he had to defend himself for his security,” she added. 

The suspect in the video was apprehended for allegedly breaking and entering a private residence. 

Two suspects fled the scene, and an officer gave chase. A third suspect, the one seen in the video, didn’t run.

The intervention, according to Major, was considered high-risk from the start. 

However, witnesses to the event tell a different story. 

Muaz Zaman says the officer was aggressive while the alleged suspect was on the ground, and it continued when the suspect was standing up. 

“As soon as he came to the guy, he started hitting him,” Zaman said. “So we were like he’s already on the ground, he’s already complying with whatever they asked.”

“He lifted the guy up and that’s when we see the head butt – that’s when I started filming.”

Another witness had a similar story.

“The guy said ‘I’m not going to resist. You can put me in handcuffs and I’m not going to resist,’” said Mohamed Kheder. “The police didn’t choose to do that. He chose to start punching him, kicking him.”

Police say the three suspects will face several charges, including breaking-and-entering, resisting arrest, and theft. 

They’re expected to appear in court on Monday. 

The officer is on leave because of his injury, and police say they will not be investigating his conduct.

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