Crown seeks jail time for Edmonton police officer convicted of assaulting Indigenous man

A judge will have to decide what punishment is appropriate for Edmonton Police Service Const. Michael Partington, who was found guilty of a 2019 assault.

Another officer had stopped an Indigenous man for riding a bike on a sidewalk without a bell.

Video of the confrontation shows the victim on the ground in a prone position. He screams in pain as the officers both kneel down over him. The footage shows Partington drive his knee into the man’s back.

The incident was caught on camera and widely circulated, sparking a debate over the officer’s actions and potential consequences.

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Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail argued Wednesday that Partington should serve jail time — 60-90 days — followed by 12-18 months probation.

MacPhail said the context of the assault was a man riding a bike with no bell — a “very non-urgent situation” that led to a “violent confrontation” with “extreme consequences for all involved.”

She said it was a “failure by Const. Partington to follow his training in regard to application of force.”

Click to play video: Edmonton police officer charged with assault

MacPhail pointed out that the victim is a member of a racialized minority, and while she was not alleging the assault was racially motivated, that fact “can’t be ignored.”

She argued the victim was in a position of vulnerability and said Partington’s knee could have resulted in worse injuries.

“(It’s) more good luck than good management there weren’t more serious consequences,” MacPhail told court.

She said jail time would serve as a wider deterrent for other law enforcement officials and would denounce Partington’s actions.

The defence argued that message is already being sent loud and clear and jail time isn’t required.

Partington’s lawyer Mike Danyluik argued that news coverage of the incident serves as a big deterrent.

Other EPS officers were aware of it and saw the resulting scrutiny and the consequences. The defence pointed out the video will be online forever and the fear of job loss or the financial impact is a stronger deterrent than jail time would be.

“You will be subject to intense media scrutiny, financial consequence and lose your job,” Danyluik said.

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Edmonton Police Service constable charged with assault in relation to 2019 arrest

The defence argued that it’s dangerous to bring race into the case since Partington saw the suspect for three seconds and his face was turned away.

The defence is seeking a suspended sentence — 12 to 18 months probation, 120 to 180 hours of community service and instructional programming on police use of force.

Danyluik argued Partington has led an otherwise exemplary personal and professional life apart from this one moment.

“It was a misjudgment of moments.”

The judge reserved his decision Wednesday.

Regardless of the outcome in court, EPS is conducting its own internal investigation into the incident, barring any appeals.

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