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OPP appeals for witnesses in violent confrontation between Barrie officer, skateboarder (VIDEO)

'I often say 'an investigation takes as long as it takes.' We owe it to everyone involved to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,' says OPP official

Editor's note: The video contains strong language which may not be suitable for some readers. 

More than two weeks after a violent arrest in downtown Barrie, Ontario Provincial Police investigators are hoping to speak to anyone who witnessed the Feb. 4 altercation on Dunlop Street involving a 20-year-old man and a city police officer.

The incident, which made national headlines and was widely viewed due to many video recordings shot by passersby that afternoon, was handed over to the OPP's Professional Standards Unit by Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood the following day. 

On Feb. 5, Greenwood said in a statement she wanted to “assure the community that any findings of misconduct will be pursued.”

OPP media relations manager Bill Dickson tells BarrieToday that the OPP has been collecting and reviewing evidence, and would like to speak to anyone who was at the scene that day. This does not include those who only viewed the incident online.

While Dickson said he couldn’t get into details about the ongoing investigation, it will be thorough, he said.

“We can’t put a deadline on any investigation. I often say 'an investigation takes as long as it takes.' We owe it to everyone involved to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” Dickson said Wednesday.

BarrieToday recently obtained another video showing the initial interaction between the young man and the officer.  The video shows a Barrie police car parked beside the man as he leans in toward the cruiser's window. As the man begins to skate away, the police car speeds up and pulls in front of him.

The officer exits his vehicle and approaches the man before getting back into his vehicle while the 20-year-old stays beside the car. 

In the video, a man’s voice can be heard explaining to others in the area that the “cop (expletive) speeding off like a (expletive) idiot because a kid on a skateboard went through a red light when it said 'walk'.”

The "kid" was later identified as a young adult. He has been charged with causing a disturbance and assault with attempt to resist arrest. He was released on a promise to appear in court and an undertaking. 

According to Mark Bonnell, at that point in the video is where the young man received a ticket for going through the red light at the Five Points.

What followed about 20 minutes later was the violent altercation that has led to an external investigation by the OPP. 

The incident happened around 3 p.m. on Feb. 4 on Dunlop Street East near Owen Street, in front of Meridian Place.

Videos began circulating online shortly after showing officers arresting the young man.

At one point in one of the videos obtained by BarrieToday, the officer flips the man over and strikes him in the back of his head.

Another video shows the officer on top of the man with a taser to his shoulder. The officer asks, “Do you want this?” followed by “Put your hands behind your back right now or I’m lighting you up.”

Bystanders can be heard asking the man to stop resisting, as well as telling the officer involved and those approaching that it was excessive force.

Witnesses can contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.