CALGARY – A video being shared on social media shows a confrontation between a 21-year-old man and Calgary police officers at the Southwood Community Rink on Thursday.
Despite signs posted on the site, police said more than 40 people were using the outdoor ice rink, which violated a COVID-19 public health order.
Here is a link to watch the video on Facebook (warning it may be disturbing to some viewers):
In the video, the man asks why he was being arrested.
“I just told you,” replied an officer. “You are going against health regulations in Alberta.”
“What is it? What are the health regulations?” asked the man.
Provincial restrictions say outdoor rinks may be open but rink operators are responsible for setting maximum number of skaters and social distancing is in effect.
At one point in the video, the two officers attempted to bring the man to the ground, who resisted. Shortly after, he moved away from the officers.
In the video, spectators tell the skater to get off the ice and stop talking. With a Taser in hand, a policeman tells the man he is under arrest and tries to grab him by the arm.
“Why are you grabbing me?” the man asked.
A policeman knelt the man in the leg as they both attempted to bring him back to the ground.
“Get on the floor before I (expletive) smack you,” said an officer.
Two minutes later police officers finally forced the man to the ground and arrested him.
COVID-19 restrictions have become a polarizing issue. A man who knows the person arrested shared the video on Facebook and the response was mostly outrage.
Calgary Police issued a statement Saturday saying the man was arrested for obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest after he allegedly tried to avoid a ticket by refusing to identify himself.
“By law, a person is required to identify themselves if they are being issued a ticket, otherwise they can be charged under the Criminal Code for obstructing an officer. This ensures people cannot avoid law enforcement by simply walking away from police without identifying themselves.”
We have received many questions and concerns about an arrest that occurred earlier this week. Please see the below statement for additional information on the incident.#yyc #covid19 pic.twitter.com/ucciovxuxX— Calgary Police (@CalgaryPolice) December 19, 2020
“This video only shows part of what has been a long interaction,” reads the statement. “The arrested man has been asked several times to comply with the restrictions.”
Calgary Police Supt. Ryan Ayliffe on Friday said Calgary Police were called to help after skaters failed to maintain a physical distance. There were about 40 skaters at the rink.
Ayliffe said police officers were put in “untenable positions” to simultaneously dispel tensions and support regulations.
“Our officers then also asked users multiple times to voluntarily disperse and explained the health orders that require it. The arrested man was also asked multiple times to comply with the restrictions and was given multiple opportunities to only receive a ticket after refusing, but would not provide his name or identification. When told he was under arrest for obstruction, he had multiple chances to comply with the officers before the video recordings started.”
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Friday said the outdoor rinks are open and residents can visit the rinks with their family cohorts.
“If there are other people on the rink, you don’t have to go home. You can stay there. You shouldn’t really start a lot of big pickup hockey games with people around you.”