Ontario police rough up 12-year-old who was not wearing a mask in skate park, incident under investigation
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April 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian provincial police force is facing an investigation after one of its members was caught on video pushing to the ground a 12-year-old boy, allegedly because he refused to put on a face mask.
The incident took place last Sunday in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Video posted online, which has since gone viral, shows a boy being pushed to the ground off his scooter while speaking to a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
In the audio of the incident, a voice can be heard saying, “he’s 12 years old” and “we are trying to leave, man,” after the boy was shoved to the ground.
In an interview with the boy posted online by the Muskoka Post, the youth said police asked those in the skate park to put masks on, but most of them did not comply.
“The police came by to tell us to put our masks on, and most of us did it. But I recorded a video saying, like, ‘we have a right to breathe and stuff.’ And he came asking for my identification,” the boy said.
“And I told him I was 12 and he came over and took my scooter because I was trying to leave. And I didn't let go and he threw me to the ground.”
Peel Regional Police are now investigating the matter after OPP commissioner Thomas Carrique requested they do so.
“Officers stopped to speak to a group of young people, none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing. Officers attempted to interact with the youths which led to a physical confrontation between one officer and one young person,” said the OPP in a statement.
Sgt. Jason Folz told Country 102 that they are “investigating and will be speaking with of course the officers involved, as well as direct witnesses to the case."
The officer who was involved in the incident has been put on desk duty for the duration of the investigation.
The Gravenhurst skate park was closed under enhanced “stay at home orders” introduced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford last Friday.
As part of new measures introduced last week, the Ford government extended a stay-at-home order, placed a 10-person limit on church service attendance size, closed playgrounds, implemented provincial border checks, and gave police the power to stop anyone outside his or her home without cause.
After public backlash, however, the Ford government walked back some of its coronavirus rules less than a day later. Playgrounds were allowed to stay open, and police must now have “reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering” in order to question people.
The backtracking of some of the rules came about after dozens of local police forces in Ontario, in multiple statements, said they would not conduct random stops and searches of people just because they had left their homes.
Today, Ford said he was “sorry” for going “too far” with the original measures introduced last Friday.
“Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. These decisions, they left a lot of people very concerned. In fact, they left a lot of people angry and upset. I know we got it wrong, I know we made a mistake and for that, I’m sorry and I sincerely apologize,” Ford said at a press conference.
New Blue Ontario Party founder Jim Karahalios called Ford’s apology “crocodile tears.”