Charge withdrawn in arrest caught on camera last summer
KITCHENER -- A charge has been withdrawn against a man arrested at a Kitchener gas station last summer.
The July arrest was caught on camera in a video that appeared to show a man being punched by police.
Police said at the time the incident started as a traffic stop over a vehicle without a lights.
They said the vehicle was driven towards a police cruiser, and there were flashes that led officers at the scene to believe someone was shooting at them.
Officers called for back up and arrested the man at a Kitchener gas station.
Video captured by witnesses appear to show the man being pulled from the vehicle and punched by the officer. Bystanders asked police to stop, saying the man had mental health concerns.
The person was identified as a Black Somali man. He was charged with dangerous driving, but that charge was dropped in court.
The light and sound heard by officers at the scene were later determined to have been fireworks.
In a statement issued Friday, Waterloo Regional Police said they respect the outcome.
Police added the Crown believed there was a reasonable prospect of conviction on the charge due to evidence, but considering the totality of the circumstances and public interest, the charges should be withdrawn.
A few weeks after the incident, Chief Bryan Larkin and other senior police members attended a meeting hosted by the Somali Canadian Association of Waterloo to answer questions about the incident. Police said they plan to continue that dialogue with the community.
Peel regional police are reviewing the incident as well.