'I could feel broken teeth in my mouth': Saskatoon police chief orders review after woman alleges police brutality
SASKATOON -- This story has been updated to reflect new details including the fact Renee Fayant's charges were stayed
Saskatchewan's Public Complaints Commission (PCC) is still working through an active complaint in a 2020 incident where a woman alleged Saskatoon police used excessive force.
Renee Fayant claimed she was the victim of police brutality following an incident on May 21, 2020.
On a GoFundMe page, Fayant said she had a few drinks with a friend in the friend’s backyard and was emotional because her dog ran away.
“I realized my dog got out of the fence and became stressed and then left the yard in an attempt to look for her. I became emotional and got into an argument with my friend about the situation so I'm assuming a neighbour had phoned the police in regards to a noise complaint,” she said.
Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said several neighbours called, reporting an “intoxicated woman causing a disturbance.”
Fayant said when officers arrived they kneeled on her back and took her into custody for being intoxicated.
While she was in the back of the police cruiser, her phone started ringing, according to Fayant’s GoFundMe Page.
Fayant said the officer radioed his partner, informing him that she had a cellphone and the vehicle was pulled over.
“The arresting officer told his partner I had been hiding my phone. When I pleaded I did not, it was in my pocket, he grabbed me by the back of my head, by my hair and slammed my face down onto the ground,” the GoFundMe page said.
Fayant said the impact caused eight of her back molars to break.
“I could feel broken teeth in my mouth and I was unable to breathe due to the wind being knocked out of me,” Fayant wrote.
Fayant sought $10,000 to cover the cost of her dental work, posting images of her teeth and chin — which she said had to be stitched up as a result of the officer’s actions. She eventually raised $1,870
“It was so shocking and I was so scared. It felt like I was going to die because of the pain," she told CTV News at the time.
"I couldn’t breathe because a grown man was on top of me, hurting me. He’s supposed to be here to protect me, even if I was being too emotional for the situation, there’s other ways he could’ve detained me without involving him breaking my teeth.”
When Fayant spoke with CTV News following the incident, a formal complaint had not yet been filed.
“We became aware of the GoFundMe page yesterday and the Chief has asked our Professional Standards Division to conduct a review,” SPS spokesperson Alyson Edwards told CTV News in a June 2020 email.
“Part of that will be reaching out to Ms. Fayant to go over the options she has for making a formal complaint.”
With a formal complaint now in the hands of the PCC, any details from the review would have been provided to the agency if requested, according to SPS.
While Fayant was charged with assaulting a police officer, the charges were stayed, SPS said.