Peel police asked to investigate altercation between OPP officer and child in Gravenhurst skate park
Published Tuesday, April 20, 2021 12:23PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 20, 2021 1:07PM EDT
Ontario Provincial Police have asked their counterparts in Peel to conduct an independent investigation after a video surfaced online showing one of their officers engaged in a physical altercation with a child at a skate park in Gravenhurst.
The one-minute video, which has been widely circulated via social media, appears to show several young people on scooters in a skate park over the weekend when one of them is heard saying “they are asking for IDs” in reference to two uniformed police officers nearby.
The camera then zooms in and one of the young people can be seen next to one of the officers. It is not entirely clear what happens next but you can hear an individual say “don’t touch me” and within seconds the young person is seen falling forcefully to the ground after some sort of physical interaction with the officer.
At that point, another voice off camera is heard saying “What are you doing? He is 12 years old.”
In a news release issued on Monday morning, Ontario Provincial Police said that the skate park was closed under Ontario’s state of emergency act and that the officers had “stopped to speak to a group of young people, none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing” when a “physical confrontation” occurred between an officer and a young person.
At this point it remains unclear whether the officers were requesting IDs to ensure compliance with the stay-at-home order, something the OPP has promised not to do “arbitrarily.”
OPP say that the officer involved in the incident has since been reassigned to administrative duties pending the completion of an independent investigation into the matter by Peel police.
"To ensure transparency in this matter, I have requested that Chief Nishan Duraiappah assign members of the Peel Regional Police Service to conduct an investigation into this incident. 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,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in the release.
Skate parks were included in a long list of recreational amenities that the Ford government ordered to close last week.
Over the weekend Carrique said that the OPP would be focusing on “complaints from the public and unlawful public gatherings” and would not be “arbitrarily stopping individuals or vehicles” to ensure compliance with the stay-at-home order.