A video of two Canadian police officers taking down a female shoplifter in Hamilton, Ontario, has gone viral.
The YouTube video shows police officers Mark Morelli and Chantal Wilson in front of a large crowd subduing and arresting the woman as she became hysterical, claiming that the officers were hurting her and that she couldn’t breathe.
According to the Daily Mail, the man who filmed the incident on his cellphone camera — later revealed as a colleague of the suspected shoplifter — pointed out that it was a case of police brutality.
“She's only a weak girl,” the man yells at the officers. “You can't do that. There's no way you can do that.”
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After placing her in handcuffs and in the back of a police car, Officer Morelli explains to the crowd why it was necessary for him and his partner to subdue the woman.
“Our domestic policy is very specific. Without going into detail, this young woman has broken the law, and we were attempting to place her under arrest and she began to resist,” he said to the people watching. “I’m doing my best not to hurt that girl. Our mandate is to affect arrests while doing the minimum amount of damage to people as possible. And that’s what I tried to do.”
The officer explains the “soft hand techniques” he used to subdue the suspect, involving no punches or kicks.
“While it may appear to be very rough to you — and I apologize for you having to see that — but I have the lawful authority to arrest her and I am obligated to arrest her,' the officer says.
Reactions to the video of the incident have generally been positive, with the majority of people on social media praising the way officers handled the situation.
Hamilton police Chief Glenn De Caire criticized the man who shot the video, telling the CBC, “What is very discouraging is we actually have citizens on scene who think the priority is to get their cellphone out and videotape this when, in fact, they should be coming to the assistance of the officer and helping us to police in our own community.”
Watch footage of the incident below: