Hamilton police defend their actions during an encounter with a man suffering from an epileptic seizure in the city center


Police are defending their actions following an encounter with a Canadian Tire employee suffering from an epileptic seizure in a parking lot in central Hamilton on Sunday.

Spokespersons for the service said what officers did was « appropriate » as attempts were made to subdue Marcus Charles, 27, outside his workplace, captured on video.

This footage shows two officers trying to restrain a screaming Charles on a Main Street East and West Avenue South sidewalk in broad daylight.

During the scuffle, an officer can be seen deploying a taser-like weapon, apparently giving Charles an electric shock.

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“I was screaming for my life. I was, I was terrified,” Charles told Global News.

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“I didn’t think we called people to come here to taser me. I thought it was for help. I thought it was just for help.

Witnesses said paramedics tried to restrain Charles before police were called to the scene.

Charles says the experience left him with injuries to his wrist, arms and face.

His partner Chantelle Chevrier says she arrived at the scene just as the case was winding down and believes officers were simply not trained to deal with the medical episode.

« I think the cops shouldn’t be called in a medical distress situation, » Chevrier said.

« They never handle it properly. »

In a statement to Global News, Hamilton police said an officer suffered a concussion as a result of what happened and said « the officers’ actions were appropriate to the situation they were in. confronted ».

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Charles says police and paramedics, like his fellow store workers, knew he had epilepsy and claims he posed no threat to anyone.

« I thought they were trained professionals and knew what seizures were and all that, » he said.

« I thought they were all prepared for this. »

Cynthia Milburn, CEO of Epilepsy South Central Ontario, shared Charles’ characterization of the incident and suggested that none of what happened was his fault.

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His concern is that paramedics and police are apparently unable to handle the breakdown.

“The seizure will take its course. Paramedics are trained in this,” Milburn explained.

“I believe the police have training on this, and they were actually told it was a foreclosure. So… that kind of force was really overwhelming for me to watch and know it was happening there.

Charles says his employer and colleagues have been supportive, but says their call to paramedics leading to a call to the police was very costly.

He now faces three criminal charges alleging he assaulted officers at the scene.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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