Saturday, December 14, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hamilton police arrest video goes viral

A citizen’s video of Hamilton police subduing a screaming female suspect, while using minimal force, has gone lightly viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views since being posted Wednesday.

“Honest Cops” was posted on You Tube and then linked to a popular reposting site.

YouTube video link:

It quickly sparked thousands of comments and was closing in on 400,000 views by Thursday night.

In the nearly 8-minute-long video, shot outside The Source store on Mohawk Road near Upper Gage, Hamilton constables Mark Morelli and Chantelle Wilson are shown first subduing and then arresting an out-of-control suspect in what police say was “a domestic related” incident. The arrest took place Sunday.

The woman can be heard screaming and seen thrashing about on the sidewalk in front of the store, ignoring Morelli and Wilson’s commands to stop resisting and to put her hands behind her back. Seemingly hysterical, she claims “I can’t breathe” repeatedly, and complains that her chin is cut and she’s lost a tooth.

For several minutes the officers struggle to control and cuff her and take her to the waiting patrol car. They treat her sternly, but with evident restraint, employing force only to contain her, not hurt her. Eventually Wilson and Morelli succeed in placing the 21-year-old Hamilton resident in the waiting cruiser.

During the arrest and afterwards Morelli, aware they are being videotaped, attempts to answer the complaints of the videographer and other bystanders, explaining what they are doing and what the law permits them to do.

“You can’t do that … she’s only a weak girl” the videographer admonishes the officers repeatedly as they struggle to cuff the woman.

“I’ll explain it to you in a second,” Morelli says, holding up one hand in a “wait there” gesture.

True to his word when the woman is finally securely in the rear seat of the cruiser, he catches his wind and proceeds to explain the law and the use of force choices they made during the arrest.

Hamilton media relations officer Debbie McGreal-Dinning would offer no information on the arrest, citing the service’s policies against commenting on ‘domestic incidents.’ (Source: Hamilton Spectator)