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Use of leg sweep that left suspect paralyzed was justified: ASIRT

Spirit River –

Alberta’s police watchdog says a takedown by an RCMP officer was justified even though it resulted in the broken neck and paralysis of the suspect in the arrest.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says officers responded to a call about a suspected break-in at a business in Wanham, more than 100 kilometres north of Grande Prairie, in June, 2022.

It says the business owner discovered two people stripping copper wire inside, pointed a shotgun at them and waited for police to arrive.

Police put the suspects into handcuffs but when one kept attempting to reach into a pocket in his hoodie, the officer used a leg sweep to take him to the ground.

The report says that shortly after, the suspect told police he couldn’t feel his legs and was treated for a spinal cord injury that resulted in him being left a quadriplegic.

ASIRT executive director Mike Ewenson says the leg sweep is a common manoeuvre and the use of force was justified, despite the unfortunate consequences.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2024.

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