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Knife image, video of woman holding it prior to being shoved by officer released by Edmonton police

An Edmonton Police Service officer who shoved a woman to the ground before arresting her in an act caught on camera did his job properly, the acting chief told police commissioners Thursday afternoon.

EPS also released during the meeting an image of the knife and surveillance video of a woman holding it prior to the officer arriving, after a protest and demands from the public.

The arrest happened last Thursday afternoon in the area of 100 Street and 106 Avenue.

"This is how we train and expect our officers to respond to circumstances where a weapon is reported or observed. This officer did his job," Deputy Chief Devin Laforce said.

"Without the entire context of the situation, seeing the video clip can be alarming. However, the full circumstances of the event deemed it a reasonable response from the officer."

The officer, who has not been named, was flagged down on the streets of Chinatown and asked to respond to a "knife fight" in the street, police said.

The officer arrived within "seconds," which is what council and the public want from officers, EPS Chief of Staff Justin Krikler added.

The officer had reason to believe the woman was "brandishing a knife" during a dispute with another person, Laforce said, and the video supports that, showing two women in the middle of the street.

Laforce said he was happy to stand by the officer and his actions and was glad that no one was seriously injured.

"Use of force is an unpleasant reality of policing, but one required to gain control of a situation and prevent further risk to the individual, the public and the officer," Laforce said.

The acting chief told reporters that buying body and vehicle cameras for EPS officers is "an ongoing discussion" but no decision has been made yet.

Police have not released the name of the woman involved because she was not charged. She was intoxicated at the time of the push, police said, and she was released after being given a meal.

Several police commissioners questioned officers about the push, but none of them clearly stated they felt it was wrong.

"Houselessness of Indigenous women has tripled since pre-COVID. So we are going to see more and more incidents unless we strategize collectively on how we might solve these complex problems," said police commissioner Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, who thanked the officers in the room for their service.

Nina Laderoute, an Indigenous woman who attended the meeting out of concern with the officer's actions, said the new video didn't change her stance that he acted with more force than necessary.

"I would want someone to stop me from hurting someone, I would not want them to commit an assault on me when they think I might hurt someone, before I have lunged or made any kind of physical movement to harm," she told reporters after the meeting.

Laderoute was among several community members who protested at EPS headquarters. At a rally on Sunday some called the shove "gross behaviour."

"He's darn lucky she never hit her head and died right there on the sidewalk," said Judith Gale with the Bear Clan Beaver Hills House.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Diego Romero and Joe Scarpelli Top Stories

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