Law Enforcement

Partner of officer accused of punching arrestee, using slurs testifies at disciplinary hearing

Talvio, then a rookie officer, was on patrol with Downing in northeast Edmonton on March 25, 2015, looking for stolen vehicles, suspended drivers and other suspicious happenings. At the time, Talvio had been on duty for just over a year.

Sometime after 4 a.m., Downing and Talvio spotted a beat-up Chevy Silverado, driven by a male. When Talvio ran the plates, he learned the registered owner was a woman. They followed the vehicle as it turned from 118 Avenue onto Abbotsfield Road, where it came to a stop outside some townhouses.

El Hallak, who is in his 50s, testified that when he got out of the vehicle, Downing screamed “come here you f—ing n—r, I will fuck you up,” said Daniel Morrow, presenting officer at Monday’s hearing.

El Hallak said he told the officer he’s Arab, thinking Downing has mistaken him for someone else, and that the officer then responded with Islamophobic language. El Hallak said he laid down on the ground after officers threatened to Taser him, and that once he was in the back of the police SUV, Downing repeatedly punched him in the head, including after attaching a “spit mask” to El Hallak’s face.

Edmonton police have charged four people in a counterfeiting and identity theft operation, with possibly over one hundred victims. Edmonton Police Service Constable Nathan Downing is photographed beside some of the items from the bust on Tuesday March 28, 2017 at police headquarters. Patsy Brown (45), Chayenne Cardinal (22), James Gibb (36) and Douglas Herman (59) have been charged. (PHOTO BY LARRY WONG/POSTMEDIA)
File photo of Const. Nathan Downing. Photo by Larry Wong /POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Talvio, on the other hand, says there was no initial exchange of words between Downing and El Hallak. He said El Hallak ran from them, and that Downing tackled him after a short distance and punched him once in the head just before applying handcuffs. He said Downing may have struck him once more as he applied the spit mask, but that he didn’t see any repeated blows.

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