Blue Line

Judge acquits former Saskatoon police officer of assault in chase arrest

August 1, 2019  By The Canadian Press

SASKATOON — A judge has found a former Saskatoon police officer not guilty of an assault during an on-duty arrest.

Jarret Gelowitz, who is 32, was charged after an investigation into the 2016 takedown of a suspect during a high-speed chase.

Gelowitz’s trial focused on video from a police vehicle dash-cam, which showed several officers yelling for two people in a stolen vehicle to raise their hands before they used batons to smash the windows.

He testified in Court of Queen’s Bench that he was following his training.

Gelowitz was reassigned to administrative duties but was fired from the force in August 2018 after two additional assault charges were laid.

Both counts have since been withdrawn.

The trial heard that spike belts disabled the suspect’s car, which came to a stop on a residential street after earlier reaching speeds as high as 160 km/hr.

Keller Bear was at the wheel and was one of two people arrested and charged with possessing stolen property and fleeing police.

The then 18-year-old’s struggle with officers lasted for 30 seconds before he was taken to the ground and handcuffed.

Bear, who was jailed for the chase, told court he was not resisting arrest. Three other officers involved testified he was unco-operative.

Joe Johnston, a retired Vancouver police officer with extensive experience in training officers in the use of force, testified for the defence.

He told the trial that Gelowitz’s handling of the situation was consistent with law enforcement in Canada.

The Crown argued a final knee strike to the driver once he was out of the vehicle was unnecessary and excessive. (CTV Saskatoon, The Canadian Press)


News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019

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