Canada

Police investigate after video shows physical confrontation between OPP officer and youth

At one point in the video, an officer appears to push the child and the boy is seen falling down forcefully

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Ontario Provincial Police have asked officers in Peel Regional Police to investigate after a video surfaced online Sunday that appears to show an OPP officer assault a young boy on a scooter in Gravenhurst, Ont.

The video, which has since been viewed more than 7,000 times on Instagram, seems to show several young people hurrying away on scooters from a skate park. One of them can be heard saying “they’re asking for IDs” in reference to two uniformed OPP officers standing near a young boy.

At one point in the video, an officer appears to push the boy and he is seen falling forcefully.

An onlooker, unseen in the video, can be heard saying: “What are you doing bud, he’s 12-years-old!”

As the camera zooms in on the interaction, the boy is seen getting up, with no apparent injuries, and engaging in a conversation with the two police officers.

Brodie Ohare, who posted the video to his Instagram page, wrote in the caption: “Today I witness a 12-year-old get pushed over by a police officer at our local skate park in Gravenhurst Ontario.”

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On Friday, April 16, Premier Doug Ford announced new anti-COVID measures that allowed Ontario police to stop pedestrians and vehicles to ask why they’re outside and for their home address.

Following a backlash by the public and some regional police forces, the province amended the measures the next day, stating the police may only stop people who they have reason to believe are participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.”

Sgt. Jason Folz, the media relations coordinator for the OPP central region, said the officers had stopped to talk to the group of youths because they were at a skate park that had been closed as per Ontario stay-at-home orders.

Folz could neither confirm whether the officers had asked anyone at the skate park for their IDs nor give details of the interaction between the officers and the boy.

In a news release issued Tuesday morning, OPP stated that the skate park had been closed under the terms of stay-at-home order and officers had stopped to “speak to a group of young people, none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing.”

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“Officers attempted to interact with the youths which led to a physical confrontation between one officer and one young person,” the release stated.

The boy’s age is not confirmed in the release.

The OPP officer involved has since been reassigned to administrative duties while Peel Regional Police investigate the incident, the release stated.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique stated in the release that he asked Peel police to investigate so as to “ensure transparency in the matter.”

“We understand the concerns being expressed by members of the public, and I want to assure everyone that the Ontario Provincial Police holds its members to highest levels of professionalism and accountability,” he was quoted in the news release.

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