‘Please guys, let me breathe’: Canadian cop accused of ‘excessive force’ in George Floyd-style ‘knee to the neck’ arrest (VIDEO)
A Canadian police watchdog is probing allegations of excessive force during an incident in which a police officer knelt on the neck of a man being arrested despite him being pinned down and repeatedly crying out “I can’t breathe.”
In a statement, the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of Manitoba confirmed it is investigating the excessive force allegation in the August 2019 incident – which has drawn comparisons to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.
It reportedly occurred outside James Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg after Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) responded to a call about an intoxicated man who allegedly assaulted a person at the airport and then struck an officer in the face without being provoked.
The man, identified as Nathan Lasuik, is facing several counts of assault in the ongoing trial. Bystander video of the incident was released to the press after it was played in court this week to argue that the RCMP officer used excessive force.
During the nearly five-minute clip, the unidentified RCMP officer is seen holding his knee down on Lasuik’s neck and pressing his face against the ground. The officer does not appear to adjust either his position, or the applied pressure, despite Lasuik’s pleas to be let up.
“Let me breathe, guys,” Lasuik is heard saying early in the video. One of the two officers, or a third person who appears to be an airport official, subduing him responds that he was breathing since he was “talking.” The second officer and the third person were holding his legs down.
It is not clear from the video who dismissed Lasuik’s claim, but the words, “You’re breathing. When you’re talking, you’re breathing,” are clearly heard. When Lasuik continues to plead with them, one of them says, “Please nothing, you opened your mouth one too many times.”
As Lasuik starts to audibly panic, he is told, “Oh, now you’re a tough guy, aren’t you?” At this point, Lasuik appears to break down and cry, “I’m not a tough guy, I never was. Oh my God.” He then calls for passers-by to take “video” and screams he is “going to die.”
About two minutes into the video, the RCMP officer appears to release the pressure somewhat and Lasuik is told to “relax.” He then thanks them in response.
After another police officer arrives, Lasuik is told to put his hands behind his back – to which he replies that he was pinned to the ground. As he is put into handcuffs, he says, “I was going to die.”
The video ends with a police officer telling Lasuik’s father he has to “seize the phone.”
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Claiming that the police department only heard about the incident after it was reported about this week, Manitoba RCMP commanding officer Jane MacLatchy said the video was “very disturbing” and announced that the officer who knelt on Lasuik’s neck is under department review.
“Hearing a man clearly informing police officers that he cannot breathe is all too present in our collective consciousness,” MacLatchy said, adding that the force’s officers are not trained in “a knee to the neck” response.
The RCMP union cautioned against judging the officer on the basis of an “edited video clip.”
Lasuik’s lawyer told CBC that a use of force expert is expected to testify when the case resumes on August 31.
In June, former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years after being convicted of murdering George Floyd in the infamous filmed encounter where he knelt down on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. His abuse of authority was a major factor in the sentencing.
Chauvin was expelled from the force the day after the murder and the incident triggered a summer of tension and periodic outbreaks of conflict between police forces and those protesting police brutality across America and beyond.
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Source:RT World News