A photo was taken of officers arresting a man in Rotary Park on July 6. A witness claims RCMP used excessive force, which the RCMP denies. (Facebook)

UPDATE: Police accused of using excessive force during Whitehorse arrest

Alberta Serious Incident Response Team to investitage allegations of excessive force by the RCMP

UPDATE: The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has been “directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest” according to a release from the Government of Alberta on July 10. According to the release, “ASIRT’s investigation will focus on the actions of police during this incident, while RCMP will maintain responsibility for the investigation into the initial complaint and the man’s subsequent actions.”

Whitehorse RCMP have come under scrutiny after a witness to the arrest of a man July 6 alleged that officers used excessive force, leaping at the suspect “superman-style” and kicking him multiple times, among other things.

Yukon RCMP Supt. Chan Daktari Dara, however, says that the officers’ conduct was justified.

Whitehorse resident Siku Allooloo, in a July 6 Facebook post, wrote that she had filed a complaint “for a brutal excessive use of force incident” she said she witnessed at Rotary Park that morning.

“A man was walking across the park with an axe, which I only noticed because 4 officers pulled up and rushed toward him,” Allooloo, who did not respond to requests for comment from the News, wrote in the post.

The man dropped the axe as the officers approached and walked away with his hands raised, according to the post, and the officers surrounded him, standing around for awhile and “exchanging a few words.”

“Then suddenly the officer directly in front leapt in the air superman-style, grabbed the man by the back of the neck and slammed him head-first to the ground, while at the same time the officer directly behind lept forward and tackled him,” the post alleges.

All four officers kneeled on the man as he “remained docile,” the post continues but a “few seconds later, the officer on his side stood up and started to kick the guy, 4 huge kicks, then stopped a few seconds and kicked him another 2 times.”

Allooloo, who said she was with her coworkers from the Women’s Directorate at the time, wrote that she ran up towards the officers and the man with her phone, worried because he “wasn’t moving at all.”

“As soon as the officers saw me approach with my phone recording they changed their behaviour entirely and appeared to treat the man very gently,” the post says.

“… Afterward when the arrest was being finished he was speaking politely to them. I couldn’t believe it.”

According to a Yukon RCMP press release July 7, officers from the Whitehorse detachment were dispatched around 11:15 a.m. July 6 after a report of a man walking on Second Avenue “carrying an axe, swinging it around, hitting property and uttering threats at individuals on the street.”

Officers found the man in Rotary Park, the release continues, “still swinging the axe at random and appeared to be agitated,” and approached with “extreme caution” due to the “high risk for public safety” due to the number of people out at the park and on the street.

One officer raised his “conducted energy weapon” while another drew his gun, but neither weapon was used. While the man “eventually threw the axe away,” he “did not comply with police commands and instead walked away,” the press release says, and he was arrested “after a brief struggle.”

Paul Fraughton, 33, is facing charges including possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, mischief under $5,000 for allegedly breaking a trolly window at the McBride Museum, resisting arrest and breaching a probation order prohibiting him from possessing weapons.

Fraughton, reached by what the News believes to be his email, declined to comment. He was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court again later this month.

In an interview July 9, Supt. Dara said that officers handled the situation, which he described as “dangerous” and having a high potential for violence and risk to the public, “effectively.”

“This is not a normal occurrence we see every day in Whitehorse in terms of a man wielding an axe and I believe that in this situation, our officers acted in a reasonable and measured manner,” he said.

Asked about the allegations that police apparently used excessive force even after the man had dropped the axe, Dara said that the man “was not fully cooperative at that point yet.”

“Members saw an opportunity to close the gap as this person was walking away and proceed to take control of him and handcuff him. He was under arrest for a variety of offences,” he said.

He confirmed that Fraughton was known to police, and that officers have had multiple interactions with him since November.

Dara said he hadn’t been notified yet of a formal complaint, which Allooloo wrote in another Facebook post she had received a reference number for immediately upon filing, but explained that due to how civilian complaints are handled, detachments don’t always see them right away.

He added that police have “received more positive support than criticism in this particular situation,” and encouraged any witnesses, including Allooloo, to contact police to give formal statements.

“We’re paid to protect the public, protect Yukoners, and we do our best to do that,” Dara said. “And this situation, I think we acted well, I think we acted in a reasonable manner to put a stop to the situation as quickly and as safely as possible for everyone.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill holds up a signed copy of the KDFN <em>Lands Act</em> agreement during an announcement at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on Oct. 20. Under the new act, called Nan kay sháwthän Däk’anúta ch’e (We all look after our land) in Southern Tutchone, KDFN will be able to allot citizens land to build their own houses on, for example, or to use for traditional activities. The First Nation will also be able to enforce laws around things like land access and littering. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Lands Act comes into force

The act gives the First Nation the authority to manage, protect and enforce laws on its settlement lands

Two doctors in Watson Lake say they are at risk of losing their housing due to a Yukon Housing Corporation policy that only allows one pet per family. (Wikimedia Commons)
Healthcare workers in Watson Lake say housing pet policy could force them to leave

The Yukon Housing Corporation has threatened evictions for having more than one pet

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Most Read