UPDATE: Suspect in taser arrest charged by police


UPDATE

Police have charged 45-year old ANDREW HENRY with 2 counts of assault, 2 counts of uttering death threats, 3 counts of assaulting a peace officer, 1 count of assault with intent to resist arrest,1 count of mischief - damage to property.

He appeared at College Park Court this afternoon. Andew Henry reportedly has a history with police. Toronto Police Service will not release any information on the officer who deployed the taser.


Toronto Police are standing by a move by officers to Tase a man lying face down on a downtown street.

It happened near Dundas St E and Church St on Tuesday morning.

Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook says police were dispatched after an employee of an area business reported being assaulted by a man.

"The first officer on scene approached a man and then she was also assaulted."

A man named Tom saw it unfold and tells NEWSTALK 1010's Jim Richards on the Showgram he saw a man punch a female officer in the face. Police spokesman Mark Pugash says the impact knocked the woman to the ground and she was also spat on.

Tom says four construction workers tackled the man before more officers showed up, handcuffed the suspect and put him in the back of a cruiser. Pugash says one of the construction workers was bitten.

"He kicked the window open and the door and tried to get out so the police went in the back and Tasered him," Tom says. But Pugash says the Taser did not work because the man was wearing heavy clothes.

Tom says the man was hauled out of the crusier and officers attempted to put leg restraints on him.

That is when the video, shot by another witness and obtained by City News appears to pick up.

It shows a man face down on the ground with four officers standing or crouched over him. As one officer holds the man's legs you hear the crackle of Taser fire from another.

"Stop resisting!," the officer yells before repeatedly stomping on the man's body.

Pugash says the video does not show that the man was resisting arrest with an officer's hand in his mouth.

"It's clear that there was very significant violence going on and the officer's job under those circumstances is to use the various tools at their (disposal)."

Police say the suspect was checked out by paramedics but did not require further medical attention.

Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis watched the video and is stumped.

"I struggle with why a Taser was necessary," Lewis tells NEWSTALK 1010. It didn't appear to me, from the angle I saw it, that this individual was struggling, was close to escaping and being a threat to officers and to public safety...he wasn't assaultive at that point so what's the need for Tasing."

Lewis says officers on the scene were also out of line suggesting the man who recorded footage of the Tasing would have to turn over his phone and Toronto Police agree.

"Officers do not have the authority to seize the phone and they should not have said that," Pugash explains.

The police spokesman says the officers involved will get a refresher on the rules from their senior management.

"Officers have been told on more than one occasion that if people are filming them but are not interfering or obstructing the officer in any way, then they are entitled to do that. That is what we must put up with in 2017."

Shelley Carroll, city councillor and member of the Toronto Police Services Board promise there will be a "very thorough" probe of the incident by an internal investigative unit. The results, Carroll says, will not shoved away but will eventually land on the board's public agenda.

While Carroll is not ready to pass judgement on the Tasing or stomping on the suspect, she did say she was troubled by officers suggesting the videographer did not have a right to record them.

"It's time now for officers to understand. We're having them wear cameras on themselves for crying out loud, Carroll told NEWSTALK 1010's Moore in the Morning Wednesday.