The criminal justice branch said that this video captured less than a minute of an incident that lasted anywhere from five to 20 minutes.
A Victoria police officer will not be charged in connection with kicking a man who was on the ground and who appeared on a video not to be resisting arrest.
Today (February 11), the criminal justice branch issued a statement saying that the actions of the officer last March "involved a legally permissable use of force to facilitate handcuffing of the suspect".
"The visual images on the video showing the application of force are emotionally disturbing, however in all the circumstances of the incident there is enough evidence that the officer was using force lawfully in order to gain control in an unstable and unsafe situation."
The branch stated that three Victoria police officers and two reserve members noticed a "multi-person fight underway" on March 21, 2010 shorly after midnight outside a Johnston Street bar.
A man was on the ground, apparently unconscious, and was being kicked, according to the branch.
"To bring the situation under control two officers ran into the crowd, which consisted of seven to ten fighters and approximately thirty to forty onlookers standing in the immediate vicinity," the branch stated. "One of these officers deployed a pepper spray, some of which inadvertently struck the second officer in the left eye. The pepper spray caused the person kicking or stomping to stop his attack on the unconscious male."
Six men were taken into custody, including two who were kicked by an officer.
The statement mentioned that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that while police must at times resort to force to complete an arrest, the allowable degree is limited by the principles of proportionality, necessity, and reasonableness.
"The courts will not hold police to a standard of perfection, and the police are not required to measure with nicety the force they use," the branch noted. "What is reasonable, proportionate, and necessary is a use of force which is not gratuitous. A justified use of force is one delivered in a measured fashion. It is a use of force taken neither from revenge, anger or malice but one characterized as an application of the situational force designed to dissolve a potential risk to the officer's personal safety or achieve some other legitimate purpose."
The branch maintained that the officers were outnumbered and one was debilitated to a certain extent by being pepper-sprayed.
"While many witnesses viewed the officer's conduct as heavy handed, many also confirmed that the two individuals who were kicked were resisting police efforts to handcuff them," the branch claimed.
It also stated that the available video evidence only captures 57 seconds of an event that lasted anywhere from five to 20 minutes, according to witnesses.