A video is making the rounds on social media that shows Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) violently arresting a man who police claim had a gun and a knife on the morning of June 11.
On Friday, the force responded to heavy criticism by holding a press conference to say the arresting officers had little choice.
“There’s a video that was shared on social media very widely, admittedly it is a tough video to watch. It involves the use of force by our officers and that video shows the arrest of that individual,” said WPS Const. Jay Murray.
Murray claimed the individual being arrested admitted to being on a significant amount of methamphetamine.
In the video, you can see Flinn Nolan Dorian, a 33-year-old Winnipeg man who police confirmed is Indigenous, holding what appears to be a handgun. The gun was later determined to be an airsoft gun.
The officers struggle to subdue the man who the video shows is wielding a knife. They taser him twice. One officer can be seen kicking the man in the upper body.
Murray says that kick was deliberate and justified.
“That kick likely saved his (Dorian’s) life. If that individual gets a hold of that knife in his waistband and officers see that, and he has that knife in his hand, you’re potentially in a lethal force encounter. So as tough as it is to see that kick, that kick helps dislodge that knife and bring the situation down to a point where we can handcuff him safely.”
Murray said the reason Winnipeg police released the video and held a press conference so quickly was due in part to not wanting to escalate tensions in the community.
“If there was no force or an overwhelming demand by the public to have answers for this case that we wouldn’t have released this video, we might have held it back for investigative reasons,” he said.
“And there certainly is a risk with releasing this information that it could impact court proceedings, but you have to look at the totality of the situation. We don’t want to unnecessarily escalate tensions in the community, I think there’s a lot of questions that needed to be answered about this incident and we made the decision to show the video to try provide some of those answers.”
Dorian was taken into custody uninjured and has been charged with three counts of possession of a weapon. Other charges include assault a peace officer, resist a peace officer, two counts of mischief over $5,000, break and enter, and failing to comply with a probation order. He also has an outstanding arrest warrant for an assault charge.