Halifax Regional Police will investigate how a man arrested and not believed to be handcuffed allegedly got his hands on an officer’s flashlight and then used it to assault him.
The alleged incident took place Tuesday evening on the Bedford Highway as the officer was driving a 31-year-old man back to police headquarters around 6:15 p.m. The suspect had been arrested for allegedly shoplifting from the Bedford Zellers and possessing illegal drugs.
Police spokeswoman Theresa Rath said the suspect, who also had outstanding warrants, was sitting in the back of the police cruiser when the officer “noticed the man may have ingested something.”
The officer pulled into a parking lot near All Saints Anglican Church to check the status of the man.
“At that point, the man forced his way out of the police car and struck a police officer in the head with a police flashlight,” Rath said.
Rath said the suspect may have grabbed the flashlight off the front seat of the cruiser, possibly through an opening in the protective glass separating the front and back seats.
When asked if the suspect was handcuffed at the time, Rath said, “I don’t believe so.” When asked if that’s unusual, she replied, “yes it is.”
Rath said a struggle ensued, and both men eventually ended up in the middle of the Bedford Highway.
“Some cars went around them, but eventually two Good Samaritans stopped and assisted the police officer,” she said. “(The two adult males) were able to help the officer gain control of the subject and he was placed in handcuffs.”
Rath said the officer sustained injuries to his face and eye, while the suspect suffered eye injuries. Both were taken to hospital, and the officer was treated and released, but was seeking further medical treatment yesterday. Rath said the suspect was still at the QEII Health Sciences Centre yesterday.
“We’re just going to review the file, to determine if policy was followed,” she said of the pending investigation. “Our concern right now is for the health and safety of the officer.”