TDF defends tasered Ottawa protester alleged to be intoxicated

Man tasered at Ottawa protest, October 2023
Man tasered at Ottawa protest, October 2023Image courtesy The Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund (TDF) is defending a man tasered by Ottawa Police after he was arrested for alleged public intoxication during an October 2023 protest in the nation's capital. He was later charged with criminal offences.  

viral video of the arrest shows a man on his stomach exhibiting no obvious signs of resistance as two police officers hover above him, one of whom is pressing a Taser against the man's back.

Soon, the man on the ground begins to scream and writhe in pain as one onlooker yells at the police to stop.

Ontario's Liquor Licence and Control Act prohibits public intoxication and empowers police to arrest anyone who is publicly intoxicated if the police think an arrest is necessary for the safety of any person.

According to TDF lawyer Adam Blake-Gallipeau, lead counsel on the case, it's the police who most likely caused a situation of danger.

"Our information shows that our client was Tasered within two minutes of his arrest, after which the police pointed the Taser towards a crowd of shocked and concerned onlookers," the lawyer said in a TDF press release.

While public intoxication is not a criminal offence, the tasered man was later charged with causing a disturbance and obstructing a police officer in the execution of their duty.

"Police can use reasonable force when arresting someone," says Blake-Gallipeau. "But this time, they went too far."

TDF says it intends to vigorously defend this case.

Apparent injuries after arrest
Apparent injuries after arrestPatriot Smoothie / Facebook / Sask Today

Live streamer and Freedom Convoy organizer Ron Clark posted video of the arrest to his Facebook page on October 4.

"Whatever you do, do not honk a horn in Ottawa. This is how they treat the people. This is the regular police they send out to deal with protesters. That want to be heard," he said.

The video received 12,000 views, more than 1,300 emojis, and 833 comments.

The Ottawa Police Service issued a statement on Twitter that read,

"Late this afternoon, @ottawapolice were on scene in the area of Parliament Hill to ensure public safety was maintained during a demonstration. Some protestors were using large speakers and loud hailers in contravention of By-laws. After various interactions with police, three people were arrested for obstruction and later released on conditions. While it is the duty of police to support legal demonstrations, we will not tolerate behaviours that endanger public safety or violations of the Criminal Code, By-laws or Liquor Licence and Control Act."

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