Toronto Police Identify ‘Teaching Moment’ Following Controversial Arrest Video

Police spokesperson says citizen did nothing wrong in recording arrest near Ryerson.

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash called a citizen-recorded arrest video a “teaching moment” after the clip made its way around various news and social media sites Tuesday.

Waseem Khan, the Toronto man who filmed police arresting and Tasering a man Tuesday, recorded the video lawfully. Despite the fact that Khan was not obstructing officers’ ability to make the arrest, he was repeatedly told to stop recording with his mobile phone or it would be seized.

The incident took place near Ryerson University. Police were arresting a man after he reportedly spat on and knocked a female police officer the ground with a punch. In Khan’s video, one officer can be seen stomping on the suspect while yelling “stop resisting.” It is difficult to see if the man being arrested is in fact resisting from the angle provided.

Another officer approaches Khan while he is recording and says “He’s going to spit in your face and you’re going to get AIDS. Stop recording or I’m going to seize your phone.” Those HIV-phobic comments have sparked some controversy.

Pugash said Toronto police’s professional standards division would be looking into the incident.

“Let me be clear: we have told our officers if somebody is videoing them and they are not obstructing and interfering, they have every right to film,” Pugash said Tuesday.

“Clearly there is more work that we have to do. This is very much a teaching moment,” Pugash added.