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Barrie police officer pleads guilty to assault charge

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A Barrie Police constable charged with assaulting a man who had ridden a skateboard in downtown Barrie during his arrest has pleaded guilty.

Barrie Police were made aware of an incident involving Constable Jason Stamp on February 4, 2021.

Then-Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood requested the assistance of the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent investigation.

On April 29, 2021, the OPP laid charges, including assault and assault with a weapon against Stamp.

Stamp resigned from the Barrie Police Service on Friday and is no longer a serving officer.

"He is certainly relieved that this long, difficult process is over, and he's got some healing to do. He's looking forward to that and the next chapter," said Stamp's lawyer David Butt.

Stamp pleaded guilty, in a Barrie courtroom Monday, to a violent arrest caught on camera February 4, 2021, in downtown Barrie.

In a joint submission, the Crown, Frank Giordano, and Stamp's lawyer, David Butt, agreed to the facts of the case as part of Stamp's plea deal presented to Justice Cynthia Johnston.

The court heard the Crown describe specific events leading up to the arrest involving a young man named Skyler Kent, whom Stamp witnessed skateboarding through the Dunlop Street intersection before the confrontation turned physical.

Stamp was seen in several videos played for the court approaching and speaking with Kent.

The court heard Skyler Kent was issued a ticket for causing a disturbance and heard Kent use several expletives toward the officer while questioning being pulled over.

During the initial interaction, Kent was seen waiting on the sidewalk for about 20 minutes.

"After I left with the ticket he put the lights on again. I tried to keep going because I figured he can't pull me over twice in a row like that," said Kent in February 2021.

Stamp then pursued Kent in his police vehicle and tried to get Kent into his vehicle and then to the ground to place him under arrest.

Following a brief struggle, Stamp was captured on camera, grabbing Kent by the head while Kent yelled and tried to break free.

"There was no part of me that was trying to hit him or hurt him. I just didn't understand why I was being arrested for something that was a traffic violation," said Kent.

Stamp's lawyer said Kent has since been charged with uttering death threats against Stamp; he called Kent an extremely angry young man with his own apparent mental health challenges.

Defence lawyer David Butt called Skyler Kent and Jason Stamp's respective mental health issues as "nitro and glycerin coming together."

"There was no need for that level of force," said Kent.

"Our officers are held to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct in carrying out their duties," said Barrie's new chief of police, Rich Johnston, in a media release. "We share the community's concern when any police officer is involved in a situation that negatively impacts the public trust and thank everyone for their patience as this case made its way through the justice system."

In her decision agreeing with the joint submission, the judge sentenced Stamp to a six-month conditional sentence, including three months of house arrest, calling Stamp's behaviour appalling and abhorrent.

The judge added that it was a "gross breach of his duty as a police officer and that duty is to protect the community."

As part of his sentence, Stamp is not to communicate with Skyler Kent or be within 100 metres of him.   

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