Charges have been dropped against a man who was punched in the face by police during his arrest.
Joshua Skookum was facing four charges from April, including resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer. But court records show those charges have been withdrawn.
A cellphone video of Skookum’s arrest, which occurred in a Whitehorse home on April 5, quickly went viral, receiving 900,000 views in the first week.
It begins with the officer already on top of Skookum. It appears he is trying to turn him over. Eight seconds in, the Mountie punches Skookum in the face.
“On your fucking stomach,” the officer yells.
Some witnesses are heard yelling at the officer, while others are crying.
“I did nothing man,” the man tells the officer.
“Why are you doing that?” says someone else.
The officer manages to roll the man onto his stomach, places his knee on his back and handcuffs him.
The video’s release prompted a public outcry and a protest outside of Yukon RCMP headquarters.
RCMP Insp. Archie Thompson said at the time that the Mounties have to be publicly responsible for their actions and the amount of force they use.
More information is needed before coming to any conclusions, he said.
“Social media does not always allow viewers the benefit of context or offer the totality of events, including the moments leading up to the point where the video started,” Thompson wrote in a statement at the time.
The officer involved was reassigned to administrative duties.
The RCMP initially started its own investigation into the incident. It was later taken over by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.
That team – which is often called in to investigate allegations against the police – has been to Whitehorse multiple times to conduct interviews.
Lynn Crawford, a spokesperson for ASIRT, said the investigators are still looking into what happened on the video.
She would not comment on when they expect the investigation to be complete, only saying that it is ongoing.
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