Video has emerged showing what appears to be a Toronto police officer kneeling on the neck of a protester pinned on the ground during an arrest downtown last Sunday.
The footage posted on Instagram by the Palestinian Youth Movement on Tuesday begins with a man down on the ground being apprehended by police.
The video briefly pans out of the pinned individual, and when it returns, an officer appears to have put their knee on the man’s neck. The officer remains in that position for several seconds before standing up.
The individual was later seen being pulled up from the ground and taken away as shouts of “let him go” were heard.
Accompanying the video, the Palestinian Youth Movement, which organized Sunday’s demonstration in front of the U.S. consulate, called out police for their actions, adding that the man sustained injuries due to what happened.
“Toronto police officers exerting violent tactics such as applying their knee to the neck of the protester, reflect violent tactics used by police across the world, including in the United States and Israel,” the group said in a statement.
The incident happened during a pro-Palestinian demonstration on University Avenue.According to a police release issued after the incident on Sunday, one of their vehicles was trying to make a left turn onto Armoury Street and was being escorted by community response officers.
At the time, there were hundreds of demonstrators on the street. Police allege one of the officers was pushed off his bicycle and shoved to the ground, and as a result, a 32-year-old man was arrested. He was charged with assaulting a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer.
In a statement on Tuesday, Toronto police denied that an officer placed his knee on the man’s neck and provided more details about what unfolded.
They said police asked demonstrators to clear the road and allow the vehicle to pass. As this was happening, an officer walking his bike clipped the wheel of a demonstrator’s bike, which caused that individual to lose balance and fall.
That allegedly prompted another demonstrator to shove the officer from behind, causing him to fall onto the road.
“Incidents involving use of force are subject to supervisory oversight, and on review of available footage of this matter, we maintain that the officer did not place his knee on the suspect’s neck,” the Toronto police statement read.
“This was a sudden and unexpected event during a demonstration. During dynamic situations, officers are trained to use the amount of force necessary to render a situation safe for all involved, including the public and the officers.”