Ottawa’s Mayor is demanding a full investigation after a city bylaw officer punched a black man in the face during a physical distancing crackdown. The man was taken to the ground by the officer and was hit in the face. He also received more than $2,000 in fines. Now, Mayor Jim Watson wants answers.

In an interview with CTV News, Obi Ifedi explained that he was in a closed park with his daughter back in April, when a local bylaw officer began emptying the space due to COVID-19 concerns.

Ifedi believes he was singled out by the officer, as he was one of many people in the park who were trying to leave.

When Ifedi refused to give the officer his name, police officers were called to the scene. Out of fear, Ifedi attempted to flee.

“I ended up across the street ... a bylaw guy tackles me to the ground (and) punches me to the face,” he explained.

In an email to Ifedi, per CTV News, Ottawa police confirmed they had investigated the incident and said the officer “did commit an assault while you were on the ground by striking you in the face.”

The officer did not face charges for the incident. 

Instead, it was decided that a "pre-charge diversion" process was the best retribution, which usually involves counselling or community service.

However, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is now demanding a "full review" of the incident.

In a memo to the City Manager, posted to Twitter, Watson said, "We are asking you to review this matter and report back to Council on the results of your review and your plan to ensure that similar incidents do not happen in the future."

Despite initially denying any wrongdoing from the staff member, By-Law and Regulatory Service are now conducting an internal review. This could lead to the officer being fired.

Narcity has reached out to Ottawa bylaw services for a comment.

Ifedi’s biggest concern, however, is that his daughter had to witness the incident.

“Imagine if we both punched each other, who would get the short end of the stick?” Idefi asked CTV News.

“I would get the short end of the stick, because he's an enforcer. I'm a civilian and I'm Black.”

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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