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A shocking video has Barrie Police under scrutiny once again

February 2021

Barrie Police has attracted national attention in recent days, with the news of an as of yet unidentified Barrie Police officer (I’ll refer to as Officer BP for now) involved in the arrest of 20-year-old Barrie resident Skyler Kent.

Kent reportedly attracted police attention when he rode his skateboard through a red light, which reportedly almost caused a collision. Although a skateboard is not specifically considered a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, skateboarders can face charges for such offences as careless driving or failing to stop at stop signs or traffic lights.

Kent admitted in a CTV Barrie interview that his attitude and words he said to Officer BP after he received a Provincial Offence ticket for blowing the red light, likely led to the next part of the interaction, that being his being pinned to the ground and arrested.

As a retired police officer, I’d like to add some perspective.

I’ve seen three video clips, two starting after Kent is already on the ground and the third shortly before Officer BP pins Kent to the ground.

The interaction may look disturbing to most, but it’s only towards the end of the interaction that really concerns me; disgusts me, quite frankly.

Before I address that, I will note that there has been much on-line criticism of the “250lb” Officer BP pinning the “125lb” Kent to the ground to try to gain control. This would appear to be according to police procedure, as Kent is not submitting to arrest, and releasing him at that point may have led to further problems and a higher escalation of the use of force by Officer BP.

Now, despite their difference in size, drugs and adrenaline can give extra strength to even small people, along with dulling any pain. I have seen it before on many occasions. I’m not claiming that Kent was under the influence at the time, as I don’t know, but CTV Barrie did report that he has a prior drug history.

Even the act of Officer BP flipping Kent over when the other officer arrives could be considered justifiable force. I know it doesn’t look pretty, but arrests don’t always look pretty, especially with suspects who resist the act of being arrested. Getting handcuffs on Kent would have been a high priority for Officer BP at that point, and that is a lot easier when the subject is on their stomach that on their back.

However, if it’s determined that Kent hadn’t actually committed any arrestable offences, the arrest at the end of the video could be deemed an unlawful arrest, and simply grabbing Kent, whether on the ground or not, could be considered an assault by Officer BP, regardless of the head-strikes.

Where it appears that Officer BP crossed the line, is when he wacks Kent in the head with his taser, then slams his head twice into the ground after flipping him over. Now, I will give Officer BP the benefit of the doubt that after struggling with this guy for around three minutes, that he was frustrated to the point of being angry, and was likely emotionally spent at that point.

That said, a police officer still needs to remain in control of their emotions. You can’t lash out so blatantly like that, no matter the reason. The hits to the head look punitive.

Given that he likely knew, or should have known, that he was being filmed, it’s particularly egregious that he would lash out so violently and unnecessarily. One can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the first time he has so brazenly assaulted someone – allegedly – even though the video does kinda speak for itself.

I do wish to stress that I’m not trying to justify any illegal behaviour on the part of Officer BP, but we should all reserve full judgement until after all the facts are known, although the video is pretty damming as I said. Thus, let’s not villainize Officer BP just yet, just as we shouldn’t nominate Kent for sainthood either. His self-admitted poor behaviour prior to filming beginning, along with his apparent active-restive behaviour, likely didn’t help the situation.

The OPP Professional Standards Branch is now investigating, and will hold Officer BP accountable if it’s determined that’s appropriate.

As a final thought, although I’m certainly not promoting the idea of illegal violence by police, Kent and others who like to chirp the police, would be well served by watching the Chris Rock skit titled “How not to get your ass kicked by the police” (See link below). For those who get satire, and thus aren’t easily offended, they will find it funny and very informative.

Officer BP is likely very much in the wrong here (allegedly), but here’s a good analogy: a bouncer at a bar refused to let you in because he’s not buying your fake ID. You tell him he’s a f***ing a**hole and he knocks your front teeth out. Now, the bouncer is clearly in the wrong for doing that, and gets arrested later that night for assaulting you. He is subsequently convicted and sentenced to two months in jail. However, you are still missing your front teeth. Do you feel good about yourself? Might it not have been a better idea to have kept your mouth shut and just walked away?

I know that sounds like victim blaming, but using the above analogy, would you rather have the feeling of superiority, knowing that your were in the right, or would you rather have your front teeth? You can’t have both.

Speaking of satire, I also highly recommend the Dave Chappelle skit where he plays a black white-supremacist.

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Sources: Barrie man speaks out about violent downtown arrest caught on video – BarrieToday.com, ‘I was resisting,’ Man at centre of violent arrest in Barrie, Ont., recalls the incident | CTV News, Chief Greenwood asks outside police service to conduct investigation into Dunlop Street arrest and conduct of Officer (mailchi.mp), https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicFreakout/comments/lcz4zp/another_angle_of_my_20_year_old_younger_brother.

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About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/a-shocking-video-has-barrie-police-under-scrutiny-once-again/

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