An incident involving Calgary Transit peace officers that appears to have left a man with bruises and cuts on his face is under investigation.
Troy French, a 38-year-old Calgary steelworker, alleges peace officers punched him twice in the face after he “called them names” during a Nov. 6 incident at the Fish Creek LRT station.
He claims one of his front teeth was broken and his bottom lip cut.
Transit police disclosure notes provided to Metro Calgary don’t mention punches thrown by officers. Instead, the notes say French resisted arrest and likely sustained his injuries when he was taken down, hitting his face on a grate.
Calgary Transit’s head of safety, Brian Whitelaw, said every use-of-force complaint is investigated, then reviewed by a citizen oversight committee.
“If somebody punched somebody in the head, obviously we’re going to take action, depending on the circumstances,” said Whitelaw, noting that an officer would only use this type of force to get themselves “out of trouble.”
French claims he was returning from work around 12:30 a.m. and waiting for the No. 12 bus when transit peace officers in a van “doing circles in front” of him began an aggressive verbal exchange.
“I called them names. That’s all I did — I called them names,” French said.
He alleges he was punched when officers handcuffed him and brought him to his knees for not showing proper ID, using vulgarity and resisting arrest. French alleges he was hit a second time as the officers escorted him to their van.
In an interview Thursday with Metro, French said he fears using transit now.
“I’m pretty much scared … anything could happen now,” he said.
“I’m afraid for (my wife), too.”
In the disclosure notes provided to Metro Calgary, the officers say they found French digging through garbage cans.
The notes say French shoved one officer and allegedly tried to spit blood from a cut lip.
The notes also detail a takedown where French’s face hit a grate.
Whitelaw said the incident is under investigation and evidence, including independent accounts and closed-circuit television, will be examined.
“What this really comes down to is the credibility of the people,” he said.
Metro Calgary asked to view the closed-circuit footage, but was denied for investigative reasons.