CALGARY — Ocean Wiesblatt became the centre of a polarizing debate, when video surfaced on social media of him on a southwest Calgary outdoor rink.
It was a confrontation with two police officers, in which he was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed, before being put into the back of a police car.
Police say the 21-year-old former minor league hockey player was arrested for obstruction of an officer and resisting arrest, both criminal in nature.
“I was kind of surprised it escalated as far as it did,” said Mount Royal University justice studies professor Doug King.
“The young guy just used bad, bad judgement – horrible judgement.”
The 21-year-old was playing a game of hockey last Thursday with what police say was with up to 40 people.
Calgary bylaw officers were called to break up the game, because the current Public Health Act (PHA) guidelines does not allow outdoor social gatherings between individuals who are not of the same household.
Police say bylaw explained the PHA rules to those on the rink, who allegedly did not comply.
That’s when police were called in to assist.
In the video, everyone had left the ice, except Wiesblatt, who asked the officers what he was doing wrong.
The officers explained the PHA rules again to him and Weisblatt again did not comply with their commands that he leave the rink. After repeated attempts, the officers informed him that he was under arrest and would be charged.
When Weisblatt again refused to comply with the officers’ commands, that’s when the situation appears to have exploded.
One of the officers drews her Taser, commanding Weisblatt to get off the rink.
“Get on the ground, before I f***ing I Taser you,” the unnamed officer said.
King says that is when Wiesblatt made the wrong decision.
“In an arrest, if the person does not follow the direction of an officer, they are going to use force,” he said.
When Wiesblatt allegedly refused to comply, the officers are then seen trying to wrestle the hockey player to the ground.
“When they were grappling with him, and wanted him on the ground, which is a perfectly legitimate officer request,” said King. “He was resisting that, (and) they had every authority to escalate their use of force.”
According to the video, the officer who drew her Taser did not use it.
Police also say the 21-year-old allegedly refused to identify himself when being issued a ticket.
Weisblatt did speak with CTV News briefly about the incident on Saturday, but refused further requests on Sunday.
He did, however, post on social media, announcing he plans to explain in his own words what happened, adding, “We are not done – this is only the start. I’m doing this for my freedom and yours.”
But King believes this will be a wake-up call for the young man.
“(The) final bit of advice I’d have for him, is get a good lawyer, because you are now charged criminally.”