Graphic video footage is circulating today of a young skateboarder’s violent arrest on the streets of Barrie, Ontario, prompting calls for one police officer to be fired and reigniting the debate over police funding in general.
The clip that is now circulating widely on all social media platforms has racked up nearly 140,000 views on Valyear’s Facebook page alone in less than 24 hours — and for obvious reasons; it’s absolutely shocking.
In the video, we see an adult male police officer kneeling atop a self-identified 20-year-old man who witnesses say was originally pulled over for blowing through a red light on his skateboard.
The young man is screaming in agony and begging the officer to get off of him as witnesses similarly plead with police to let up and stop hurting him.
Bystanders can be heard shouting that excessive force is being used and encouraging the young man to stop resisting. The skateboarder yells “I’m not resisting” and “please help me” repeatedly throughout the video.
At one point, the officer appears to hit the man beneath him in the head with the butt of a taser. Another cop rushes in to help, and together they flip the skateboarder onto his stomach.
The original cop can then be seen smacking the young man’s head face first into the pavement, prompting blood-curdling screams from members of the crowd.
A subsequent video posted by Valyear to Facebook shows the skateboarder being put into a cruiser as bystanders scream things like “that was wrong, sir!” and “f*cking psycho!” at the police officer.
The events leading up to the arrest have not been confirmed by police, but human rights advocates and members of the community argue that the amount of force used should be considered excessive under any circumstance.
“I’ve seen the videos of the violent arrest on Dunlop Street. This will be fully investigated,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman in a statement issued Thursday night.
“I won’t be ignoring this, and once we have all the details, there will be full accountability.”
Barrie Police have also acknowledged the video, writing on Twitter around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday that the service is “looking into” what happened.
“The Barrie Police Service is aware of a video that has been posted on social media and is currently looking into the circumstances that resulted in the arrest this afternoon on Dunlop Street in downtown Barrie,” reads the statement.
“We will provide further comment once the details are confirmed.”