By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Const. Michael Partington, an Edmonton Police Officer who was found guilty of assaulting an Indigenous man during a 2019 arrest, received his sentencing early this month.
He was fined $2,000 and will have a criminal record — but will not receive any jail time.
The assault occurred in 2019 and was recorded by a bystander who witnessed the entire altercation.
The video depicted two Edmonton Police Officers arresting Elliot Mcleod, an Indigenous man, for riding his bike without a bell, which the officers emphasized as a bylaw infraction.
Const. Partington, one of the two officers in the arrest, then jumped on the back of an unresisting Mcleod.
Alberta Provincial Court Judge Peter Ayotte described the officer’s actions as deliberate, despite the defence claiming that Partington acted impulsively.
“I am unable to accept his suggestion that the defendant’s actions were impulsive,” he said. “What I saw on that video was a man taking one or two steps in a normal way … (then) without saying anything literally launching himself with his knee into the suspect’s back.”
“The word that best describes what I saw is not impulsive, but deliberate.”
“Moreover, the force was applied without warning to a completely unsuspecting and unresisting person who was face down on the ground and, for all intents and purposes, under the control of another police officer,” Ayotte said.
However, despite the prosecutions push for 60 to 90 days in jail and Ayotte’s own understanding of the incident, he ultimately decided that the assault consisted of “one, and only one blow” that caused pain and no bodily harm.
Mcleod’s victim impact statement was also more directed towards Officer McCargar — the other officer involved in the arrest.
Ayotte believes that despite his actions in the assault, officer Partington played a “secondary” role.
Officer McCargar was the one who initiated the arrest, tackled, and punched Mcleod in the back of the head repeatedly before Partington even showed up — all of which has been admitted by McCargar himself.
Mcleod is suing Partington, McCargar, and the Edmonton Police Service for $250,000.
His civil lawyer, Erika Norheim, believes that if the video of the arrest did not exist then the officers would have gotten away with the assault.
She said that this case places pressure on the Edmonton Police to use body cameras.
“Until there are cameras, and until police know that their actions are going to be recorded, there is simply no accountability,” she said.
“This type of behaviour occurs every day and officers get away with it every day, confident in the knowledge that they are not going to be held accountable.”
Partington has been suspended without pay since he was charged. He has six months to pay the $2,000 but can receive more time provided he is making payments. A $600 victim surcharge has also been added to the expenses.
Furthermore, the police service’s Professional Standards Branch have announced they will be launching an investigation into the force used by both officers.
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