Canadian police tackle, arrest 21-year-old for playing hockey against COVID rules
CALGARY, Alberta, December 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian hockey player was aggressively arrested for refusing to quickly leave an outdoor rink after police were called to break up a game of recreational hockey. The game was allegedly breaking local COVID-19 health restrictions limiting outdoor gathering size of such games to 10.
The incident took place in Calgary, Alberta, last Thursday, and saw 21-year-old Ocean Weisblatt, under the threat of being hit by a taser gun, question Calgary police as to why they broke up the game.
He was told to leave the ice by police and identify himself but did not comply. Police then pulled a taser gun on Weisblatt, although they did not use it. They then tackled him to the ground, cut off his skate laces with a knife, and handcuffed and arrested him.
In a video of the event widely shared on social media, police asked Weisblatt to provide them with his name, but he refused to do so. The situation then escalated when police pulled him off the ice.
In the video, Weisblatt can be heard saying, “What are you guys doing? Why are you guys grabbing me?,” to which a police officer says, “You’re under arrest.”
The video of the ordeal shows a female police officer visibly knee Weisblatt while she and another officer try to wrestle him to the ground. Weisblatt can then be seeing getting free, proceeding to skate back on the ice.
It is at this point, officers can be heard saying, “Get on the ground.” Video then shows a female officer pulling out her taser gun and saying to Weisblatt, “Get on the f------ ground, right now,” then saying again, “Get on the ground before I f------ taser you. Right now.”
People in the background can be heard telling Weisblatt to get off the ice and on the ground to avoid getting tasered.
In Alberta, provincial COVID-19 restrictions still allow for people from different households to perform physical activities outside, so long as the number in a group does not exceed 10 people and they keep two meters apart.
Today, however, Alberta’s top doctor clarified that playing any type of hockey outdoors in Alberta is now illegal.
In Canada, police are not allowed to arrest someone unless they disclose what a person is being charged for. Also, in Alberta, the practice of “carding” or asking one for identification was recently banned.
Authorities came to the rink after someone called to complain, alleging that there were more than 40 people on the ice. The video of the event shared on social media shows around 15 people at the rink during the altercation.
At this point in the ordeal, another video of the alteration posted to Twitter shows police trying again to tackle Weisblatt to the ground. They can be heard saying, “Get on the ground” to Weisblatt, who at this point still has his skates on.
It appears that Weisblatt can be heard saying in the video, “Why are you guys doing this? I haven’t done anything wrong,” then adding that he wanted to know why police had purportedly asked a group of young kids to leave the ice.
Police charged Weisblatt with resisting arrest, obstruction, and breaking a public health order. The health order ticket by itself carries a fine of $1,200.
Weisblatt comes from a family of young hockey players who were all raised by a single mom who is deaf. Some of his brothers play in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and hope to one day play in the National Hockey League (NHL).
The incident involving Weisblatt quickly went viral on social media and drew condemnation.
The former general manager of the Calgary Flames, Craig Button, retweeted videos of the arrest, which is notable, considering his current position working at the Canadian sports news network TSN.
Well known former Calgary Flame and Stanley Cup–winner Theoren Fleury, who has been a vocal opponent on social media of COVID lockdowns, blasted the arrest by Calgary Police.
“This is not a good look for @CalgaryPolice but thank you for waking people up to what’s actually going on. This is no longer about a virus and this is a perfect example of why it isn’t. So again thank you for that,” tweeted Fleury while linking to a video of the incident.
As a result of the condemnation, Calgary Police issued a statement about the event, defending the actions of the officers.
“People have every right to contest tickets, charges and laws they think are unjust, but that right needs to be exercised in court and not by refusing to obey lawful instructions from officers. It is also an offence to physically resist and pull away from officers to try to stop or slow an arrest,” said the Calgary Police.
“I will be posting a video tomorrow or the day after to explain the info with everything that has happened since my arrest on thursday at the out door rink,” wrote Wiesblatt on his Facebook page Saturday. “For all the people that are supporting me thank you but we are not done, this is only the start. I’m doing this for my freedom and yours.”
“The mask on your face that is enforced by government should be your choice to wear or not to wear not anyone else’s choice because it’s your life, body and health. If you’re scared to get sick protect yourself. I will keep pushing till this problem is solved. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
The incident with Wiesblatt is just one of many recent instances in which Canadians have been at the receiving end of law enforcement for allegedly violating coronavirus restrictions.
Recently, a four-time Paralympic athlete born with no hands was evicted from a Canadian bookstore for not wearing a mask, despite the fact she is physically unable to put one on without help.
An Ontario man recently found himself one of the latest victims of his provincial COVID-19 rules after mall “cops” slammed him to the floor for violating the mall’s rules of mandatory mask-wearing and banning eating in its food court.