toronto fight video

Bystander trips suspect fleeing police and thwarts escape during Toronto street brawl

Toronto may be getting statistically safer, but the severity of increasingly brazen criminal activity and the easy accessibility of footage from bystanders are undoubtedly factors fuelling the Gotham City comparisons the city has been pinned with lately.

A weekend street brawl in the rowdy King West area was captured on video and shared to social media, showing the moment a bystander quite literally stepped in to assist pursuing bike cops — extending a foot to trip a fleeing suspect and allowing police to close in to subdue the man.

The incident appears to have occurred on Saturday night at King and Brant Streets, where a man draped head-to-toe in camouflage struck another male in the face, only to flee when the victim started to fight back.

As the suspect flees, a third man casually walks on an intercept course and extends his left leg, effortlessly tripping the suspect to the ground, where he is then subdued by the pursuing officers.

The takedown was made all the more impressive by the suspect's near-invisibility courtesy of his elaborate camo getup.

Toronto Police were unable to verify to blogTO details of any arrests matching the suspect description on either Friday or Saturday night.

However, Victor Paul Kwong, media relations officer with the Toronto Police Service, spoke with blogTO about bystanders intervening in police investigations, stating that "The choice for someone to assist is a judgment call they must make for themselves."

Kwong acknowledges that "assistance from the public can be very helpful in some situations," though he stresses that police "recognize everyone has different abilities and comfort levels rendering assistance."

He directed blogTO to information about good samaritans and bystanders intervening to assist in criminal arrests and investigations covered in Section 25 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which explains the legal "Protection[s] of persons acting under authority" and those assisting them.

Though much of Section 25 pertains to law enforcement officers, subsection 4 explains protection from prosecution in cases where police "and every person lawfully assisting the peace officer, is justified in using force that is intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to a person to be arrested" under a handful of predetermined conditions.

Among these conditions, bystanders can indeed use reasonable force when "the person to be arrested takes flight to avoid arrest," as appears to have been the case in this clip.

The street scrap ranks fairly low in severity, but it offers an interesting window into what bystanders can and can't do when presented with the opportunity to step in and play hero/vigilante.

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