Ex-EPS cop who kicked defenseless man in head on video, kicked another defenseless man in the head a year prior

An Edmonton judge lifted the publication ban last week on a video of former EPS Constable Oli Olason kicking Lee Van Beaver in the head multiple times while also stepping on his head with the full weight of his body. Olason was recorded committing this act of police brutality, which the judge called “deeply disturbing,” on March 23, 2021 outside of Ritchie Market.

This isn’t the first time this Edmonton police constable was caught kicking a defenseless person in the head. 

Roughly a year prior to Olason’s assault on Lee Van Beaver, on March 3, 2020 EPS officers attempted to pull over Westley Bidlock-Hawkins. He sped away and was involved in a car chase. He was pursued for roughly 30-35 minutes, with the police helicopter Air 1 becoming involved, until he became stuck in the snow on an acreage outside of Edmonton. 

As his car was stuck the EPS tactical team closed in on him. Video from Air 1 shows a flash bang grenade being thrown and baton rounds being fired at Bidlock-Hawkins’ truck. He exits the vehicle with his arms up and lays in the snow face-down with his arms outstretched. 

At this point five members of the tactical team converge on him where he is kicked, stepped on and tased as he is restrained and taken into custody. Bidlock-Hawkins was convicted of driving dangerously, fleeing the police, and breaching conditions of his probation; however he only did time served as the judge ruled the force the police used in arresting him was excessive and violated his charter rights. 

Bidlock-Hawkins appealed his sentence and details of his trial were read into the record, including Cst. Olason’s use of force. 

“Constable Oli Olason stepped on Mr Bidlock-Hawkins’ head shortly after he exited the vehicle to prevent him from fleeing. Constable Olason also kicked Mr Bidlock-Hawkins in the head four to eight times, knelt on his back, delivered several hammer-strikes to his head, and applied pressure to his mandibular nerve,” reads the decision

You can see in the video a figure identified as Cst. Olason in the court decision rushed over to Bidlock-Hawkins and kicked him in the head as he lay defenseless on the ground. 

The trial judge also found that for Cst. Olason and another officer that parts of “their testimony were clearly inconsistent with the Air 1 video or with testimony from the other Officers.”

Bidlock-Hawkins’ Police Act complaint also has details about former Cst. Olason’s use of force.

“Cst. Olason lifted his foot off of Mr. Bidlock-Hawkins’ head for a moment then stepped on his head an additional time. This force pushed Mr. Bidlock-Hawkins’ head into the deep snow, making it impossible for him to see or breathe,” reads the complaint. 

Kate Engel was the lawyer for Bidlock-Hawkins. She filed the Police Act complaint on his behalf and represented him in the appeal.

“I’m surprised that given this decision and the presence of the Police Act complaint that Olason was permitted to remain on the Tactical team and be given opportunities to commit the same misconduct that he committed against Mr. Bidlock Hawkins,” said Engel. 

Olason has a jury trial for his assault charge against Beaver scheduled for May 2025. He resigned from EPS in late 2021. Bidlock-Hawkins’ Police Act complaint is over three years old at this point and is currently in the executive review stage.