Man charged with dangerous driving; video of arrest shared online
KITCHENER -- A traffic stop by the Waterloo Regional Police Service over the weekend turned tense after officers heard what they thought were potential gunshots.
The suspect allegedly tried to crash into a police cruiser head-on.
Officers performed a traffic stop in the area of Westmount Road and Karn Street in Kitchener around 1 a.m. Sunday.
"It was for a vehicle that did not have his headlights on," Insp. Jamie Sheridan said. "Shortly after that, there were some flashes and what officers believed to be gunshots heard in the area."
In a news release, police said officers called for assistance.
According to police, the suspect vehicle drove towards one police cruiser, and then a second cruiser that responded to the call. The officers were able to avoid the collision.
The suspect followed the officers in "an aggressive manner" before stopping at a gas station at Victoria Street and Westmount Road. Witnesses filmed the arrest at the gas station from across the street, showing the man being pulled from the vehicle.
Chris Lewis, a former OPP commissioner and CTV News' public safety analyst, looked at the video of the arrest.
"Although a little bit hard to see, it does appear one officer at some point punched a number of times, they are wrestling with [the person] and trying to get under control," Lewis said. "Sometimes police have no choice but to try and break that grasp and try and get control of the individual before someone is hurt worse."
The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said it hasn't been notified. The SIU is usually called in when a suspect is injured by police.
Lewis said there are mechanisms in place for internal investigations.
"Just to find out what the heck happened here," he said. "So they can better defend themselves organizationally or deal with an officer who did something maybe he or she shouldn't have done. But, time will tell."
Waterloo regional police say they'll conduct a review.
"The actions of the officer was for public safety as well as officer safety," Insp. Sheridan said.
The driver was arrested and charged with dangerous driving.
Police said they didn't recover any weapons and believe the noise was actually fireworks in the area.