A Windsor, Ont. police officer was charged with assault after he was allegedly caught on video punching and kicking a man. Police have identified the officer as Kent Rice, a "veteran" of the force and member of the Police Marine Unit Outreach Program.
According to CBC, the video was first given to a media outlet on Wednesday and then to the police department of professional standards branch.
The video shows a young black man lying in a stairwell. A man in police uniform approaches him. He bends over him and appears to question him. Then suddenly, he lunges at him with a punch and kicks him twice.
According to Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) spokesperson Monica Hudon, "We’re awaiting to hear from the Windsor Police as to the seriousness of the [man’s] injuries." Hudon said,"We saw the video. We don’t know whether he was seriously injured, as per legislation."
Acting police Chief Al Frederick, expressed regret and disappointment about the incident. He said: "It would be my hope if anything like this does occur [that] the people come forward immediately so it gets the attention it needs."
The Huffington Post reports that police contacted members of the local black coalition after they received the video from an unnamed source. The coalition members watched the video and police briefed them on actions being taken on the matter.
CBC reports that a member of the coalition Rene Taylor, said, "I found it very disturbing to see such an act from such a prominent figure within our community. Police officers are the heroes and the protectors in our community, and it really does distress many of us."
The black coalition has urged the victim to come forward. Police say they have his identity but have not been able to contact him. According to police, it is necessary for the victim to identify himself to facilitate investigation.
Windsor Police Association president Jason DeJong, said the union had contacted Rice. He said: "But I can't really comment. There’s an ongoing investigation. It would be improper for me to comment at this time."
CBC reports that the incriminating footage was shot at a low income housing apartment building on McDougall Avenue in Windsor, Ontario. It was reportedly recorded in February, about two months after police chief Frederick announced Project Accountability in response to a previous case involving Detective David Van Buskirk, who pleaded guilty to assaulting Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan in 2010 after the incident was caught on video.
CBC reports that a "volunteer member of the YMCA facility brought the latest video to police Wednesday morning."
Rice has been charged with assault and suspended without pay.