Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Yukon RCMP Supt. Chan Daktari Dara

Concerns expressed about methods of man’s arrest

RCMP have arrested a man who was reportedly swinging an axe, damaging property and uttering threats in downtown Whitehorse on Monday morning.

By Gabrielle Plonka on July 8, 2020

RCMP have arrested a man who was reportedly swinging an axe, damaging property and uttering threats in downtown Whitehorse on Monday morning.

Officers responded to reports of the man walking on Second Avenue at approximately 11:15 a.m., finding him in Rotary Peace Park. 

An RCMP release described the man as swinging the axe at random and appearing to be agitated.

“Given the number of individuals at the park and along 2nd Avenue, the incident was treated as high risk for public safety and the officers approached the man with extreme caution,” the police report said.

“One officer raised his Conducted Energy Weapon and another drew his service pistol, neither of whom had to use their intervention options.”

The release said the man threw the axe away but did not comply with officer commands. The man attempted to walk away from police, who arrested him “after a brief struggle.”

The 33-year-old man has been charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose; mischief to property not exceeding $5,000; resisting lawful arrest; and failing to comply with the conditions of his probation order.

An eyewitness account posted to social media Monday evening lends different details than the RCMP report.

The eyewitness described officers tackling the man to the ground in the park after he had thrown the axe away and appeared to be compliant, kneeling on top of him and kicking him several times.

“I was worried because the man wasn’t moving at all, but when I got close I saw he was breathing heavily and was conscious, and that one of the officers was laughing,” the eyewitness said.

“As soon as the officers saw me approach with my phone recording they changed their behaviour entirely and appeared to treat the man very gently.”

The eyewitness said they saw the incident with several co-workers and filed an RCMP complaint that day.

The eyewitness noted that they weren’t aware of the situation’s context nor events preceding the park arrest; however, the officers appeared to use excessive force to arrest the man after he had thrown away the axe.

“I let my colleagues know I’d make a complaint and invited them to join me, as our entire department witnessed the entire event,” the eyewitness said.

A different eyewitness on social media said they saw the man on Second Avenue before police were called. He described the man as swinging the axe in close proximity to people and appearing to be unstable.

The social media accounts of the incident have circulated widely since Monday, yielding hundreds of reactions, shares and comments.

The RCMP news release acknowledged that a photo of the arrest had also been shared to social media.

Yukon RCMP Supt. Chan Daktari Dara said the man was arrested unharmed.

“Police officers respond to incidents with the potential for violence and volatility,” Dara said.

“Incidents like these, which involve police intervention, are dynamic and constantly evolving, oftentimes in a highly-charged atmosphere.

“Our officers used their best judgment in making this arrest, given the situation and with the number of individuals in the area that could have potentially been in harm’s way.”

Anyone who saw the incident is invited to report to the RCMP. The investigation is ongoing.

Comments (33)

Up 1 Down 0

Clifton on Jul 15, 2020 at 2:24 am

It was a good take down. As possible remedial sentencing the Knights of Yore club could stage some mock medieval battles with this guy and we'll see what he's got.
No, seriously no one was hurt, the RCMP did a stellar performance.

Up 0 Down 0

Black Sheep on Jul 14, 2020 at 10:59 pm

@ Riverunner - Your assessment that there must be something there or it would not be up for review is a prejudicial statement at best. It is more likely given the current political climate that the matter has been referred for review to clear the matter of the “taint” of prejudice others incorrectly assert. You cannot prejudge a matter before “all” the facts are in.

This is the exact nature of the ills of today’s political pathology. This short-stop, finger-pointing, ideological Sabre-rattling, travesty of mobbish opinion has to stop. Society cannot sustain this level of ignorance indefinitely.

So, flock-off with the rest of the sheeple... Your perspectives are sheared, triflings exposing the nakedness of the groups intolerance for calm deliberation. Stop letting the masses pull the wool over your eyes!

Up 3 Down 25

Riverrunner on Jul 13, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Well regardless of how some feel. The matter has gone to review, so there has got to be something there. Not prejudging, just sayin they don't usually go to review because it was a love in.

Up 38 Down 3

TheHammer on Jul 12, 2020 at 11:27 pm

There's always someone out there with an axe to grind.

Up 11 Down 60

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 12, 2020 at 11:17 pm

I am disappointed by many of the comments here.
You do not kick or punch someone who is under control. In Canadian law if a person dies when confined it's first degree murder.

Up 57 Down 7

Mr. Nuetral on Jul 12, 2020 at 5:20 pm

The officers involved took control of a dangerous situation without sustaining any unnecessary injury while diffusing a possible heinous outcome.

Up 70 Down 8

Judith McMurphy on Jul 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Despite what is going on around the world, the Yukon can still count on the RCMP to come to the aid of the populace NO MATTER WHAT. It takes a very special person/persons to deal with a unstable axe wielding individual who may or may not have also be carrying ie: a hunting knife or some other weapon concealed on his person unknown to the RCMP officers.
Think about this for one brief moment. Would you or I even remotely consider trying to disarm this individual either by ourselves or in a group? Not a chance. First of all, I am a senior and my days of Kung Fu fighting are long gone. Once again, to the Whitehorse Detachment RCMP my sincere thanks for your bravery and outstanding job in keeping Whitehorse safe.

Up 86 Down 8

drum on Jul 10, 2020 at 4:48 pm

I do not care if he has Mental Health issues and is not taking his meds - he was threatening residents of Whitehorse with an axe. Thank God we have the RCMP to protect us from these people.

Up 68 Down 6

Dave on Jul 10, 2020 at 3:47 pm

While I’ve done my fair share of joking about the Tim Hortons police force over the years, I for one do not want the RCMP or any other police force defunded. Years back the progressive crowd told us “Don’t be prepared to defend yourselves or your property, you have to let the police handle it.” Now that same crowd is saying “Let's downsize or even get rid of the police.” I don’t like where this defund the police nonsense is going and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see it coming a long, long ways back.

Up 82 Down 8

C Bukowski on Jul 10, 2020 at 10:52 am

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hence forth @Brad will be offering his service(s) to provide snacks to axe-wielding lunatics in the park. Whitehorse residents can now sleep easily knowing Brad is out there with cheese & crackers on demand, if by chance you find yourself in a potentially life threatening situation.
Good Grief....Hey Brad, they did call in 'staff' trained to deal with mentally unstable people - it was the RCMP officers....you know, those men & women that deal with this $h!! on an hourly basis over the course of their careers, while you armchair quarterback things from your Mom's couch. Interesting how the 'woke' Left can so easily empathize with a nutcase swinging an axe at butterflies in the morning, but can offer nothing but condemnation to those that offer to put themselves in harms way. It could be a mental health issue, Brad. Maybe you could use a snack...

Up 50 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Jul 10, 2020 at 10:03 am

I'm glad this situation was contained without injuries to anybody. As it should be. I'm curious given the high profile race is playing in these conflicts as reported by media recently, there is no mention of that aspect for this story. Also try to make things clearer in the story, for example, A Conducted Energy Weapon is a taser - call it that.

Up 60 Down 8

Jc on Jul 10, 2020 at 9:56 am

Brad, just wondering what kind of comment you would be writing if the perp had of sunk that axe in someones head.

Up 61 Down 10

martin on Jul 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

Here we go again, some bleeding hearts up here trying to imitate/follow what happens south of 49.

Up 75 Down 12

Joe on Jul 10, 2020 at 7:50 am

I support RCMP 100% .

Up 74 Down 8

Brian Melanson on Jul 10, 2020 at 6:50 am

I have no problems with how a police force takes you down, if your posing harm to the public.
Thankfully no one was hurt, not even the person swinging the axe.
Job well done RCMP.

Up 61 Down 7

T.J hooker on Jul 9, 2020 at 11:17 pm

He was armed waving an axe....duhhh.
If this was the U.S axeman would be in the hospital in critical condition with bullet holes in him. As far as the officers laughing they were relieved no one was hurt and after adrenaline kicks in it is a natural reaction to laugh from endorphines in the brain. All you social media people with low I.Qs' be glad you have the system to hide/be protected by....cause it's a mad, mad world. without the police you all would be accountable for your opinions and actions.. End quote

Up 16 Down 56

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm

I will wait for the investigation and report what comes from the complaint.

HOWEVER, if he was under control why kick him 6 times which seems like excessive force. Within a few seconds they likely knew he was on drugs or in a mental health situation so why kick him when he was under their control?

Up 58 Down 8

QuietDefiance on Jul 9, 2020 at 6:27 pm

That's hilarious Brad. I can just picture a literal axe wielding maniac in tattered clothes babbling incoherently, foaming at the mouth, and wildly swinging his axe back and forth.

"Hey little buddy, you want a Reese's Peanut butter Cup?"

Up 22 Down 104

Brad on Jul 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm

The guy obviously had mental health issues. He dropped the axe and was not posing an immediate threat to the officers. Why wouldn't one rather de-escalate him by just offering him an ear to talk to for a second, at a safe distance. Or giving him a snack - he probably has medical conditions and maybe his blood sugar is out. Or he is off meds. Perhaps some staff trained in dealing with vulnerable or mentally unstable people could have been called to intervene before it got physical.

Up 101 Down 9

Mr M on Jul 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Way to go RCMP. Thanks for doing your job and possibly saving someones life. If anyone thinks they can do a better job they should step up to the plate. I don't think they will. Just bi___ and complain about the RCMP. Great job done by the RCMP. Keep up the good work.

Up 116 Down 11

Matthew on Jul 9, 2020 at 6:29 am

Good job RCMP! He needed to be tackled clearly! Be thankful it's not USA and he wasn't waving a gun around. They ended a threat, and no one was hurt. Like it or not force needs to happen, they should be praised not thrown under the bus.

Up 117 Down 7

Sheepchaser on Jul 9, 2020 at 12:11 am

Well done to the officers. Excellent work. Quick and efficient takedown. Thanks for dealing with the wackos for us!

Up 115 Down 13

Bizarro on Jul 8, 2020 at 9:33 pm

Concerns about his arrest? I have concerns that the RCMP are routinely discriminated against, harassed and subjected to such intense scrutiny that we have sustained a virtual role reversal wherein the number one suspect in any crime is a police officer. Forgive the perspective but it seems as if actual crime is just Cop bait!?!? This is a stupid and dangerous place to be in.

Up 102 Down 9

Guncache on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Maybe some of these people would prefer a social worker with soft cuddly stuffed animals approach the axe wielder.

Up 122 Down 9

Ken Putnam on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:54 pm

So an iPhone superstar doesn’t like the way the RCMP handled the situation. Two officers put themselves in harms way during a very dangerous and explosive situation. Great, the guy throws down his axe. So does that mean he had no other weapons on him? And you say the police then laughed. I highly doubt that. So tell me iPhone superstars how would you have handled the situation? Run? Did the police save innocent persons from being hurt or even killed? Perhaps. We’ll never know because the RCMP resolved the situation before it got to that. Thank-You RCMP. Job well done.

Up 105 Down 7

Gringo on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Oh here we go, social justice warriors to the rescue. The fact that he was merely taken down after a brief struggle goes to show the professionalism of the members who attended. Stop with the other bull crap somehow trying to make this into something that it is not.

Up 102 Down 9

Can’t win on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:45 pm

RCMP should go with being defunded and let the lady use her phone to disarm the axe wielding man.
Message here is don’t walk around swinging an axe.

Up 102 Down 8

Jc on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:37 pm

What was the other option? Just walk away and leave the man swing the axe. Thank heavens, we aren't reading the consequences to that possibility.

Up 90 Down 6

Yukondan on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:30 pm

I call crap on the eyewitness account. I’m quite sure downtown like that in the open, they’re be a lot more eye witness accounts. I’d say he’s trying to create drama where there is none. Shame shame.

Up 108 Down 10

Just Sayin' on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Anonymous eye-witness,

Was the RCMP really laughing at the suspect, or did you just interpret it that way? Were they laughing at all? How do you know? How close were you? It is possible that the officer laughed (or momentarily chuckled) at something completely unrelated to the suspect, and you willfully interpreted that as something more because you have a negative attitude towards authority?

The RCMP did a great job. I have little sympathy for the suspect, and I don't feel excessive force was used. The man was swinging an axe, uttering threats, damaging property, and resisting arrest. Even after the axe was thrown to the side, how would you know whether or not the suspect had a knife?

Up 102 Down 7

BnR on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Excessive force???
Dude was swinging an axe. I could care less if they broke his arm.
The negative actions of a very few police officers are reprehensible, no question, but we don't see the majority who do care and do a good job in a difficult situations.

Up 93 Down 7

You can't win on Jul 8, 2020 at 2:59 pm

I would hate to ever be a police officer. What a thankless job. People only see what they want to see.
I wasn't there so I can't fully comment but there are always 2 sides.

Up 22 Down 48

Politico on Jul 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm

As usual what the police say and what the witnesses say seem to describe two different events?

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.