Public condemnation grows after Vancouver child handcuffed

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31 Jan 2023, 11:44 am

DH Canada

A disturbing video is circulating online and raising questions after an Indigenous child, who is neurodivergent, was handcuffed last Thursday in Vancouver.

The video, shared by the child’s mother, was taken as the 12-year-old was held down by two Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers at BC Children’s Hospital.

The mother is heard appealing to the officers, saying this is “too much” and that her son is on the autism spectrum and had reacted after he was not put in the same room he normally uses at the hospital.

Someone in the background is heard telling the mother they cannot take the handcuffs off the child until a physician sees them.

In a Facebook post, the mother said that she respects both the Vancouver police and the Translink police but this was a first and as a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with conditions, “I the parent do my best with his behaviour.

“My kid wanted the usual waiting room, but it was taken so my son started whining, and a moment later he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. My son was crying while the officer (with the glasses) had his knee on my kid’s back. I tried to take these men off my kid but I couldn’t even pull their hands off, so I started recording,” her post reads. “I told the officer that what they just did to my kid was not right.”

Metro Vancouver Transit Police said the incident started when officers were called to reports of an ongoing assault at a transit station where a child was allegedly attacking their mother.

When officers tried to intervene, they say the youth assaulted a SkyTrain attendant and then began pushing the mother towards the tracks. The child was put in handcuffs twice, once at the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain Station and again at the hospital.

“Officers had to physically restrain the youth using handcuffs as a safety precaution in order to prevent further injuries to everyone involved, including the youth himself. The youth was apprehended under Section 28 of the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital,” Const. Amanda Steed said.

Once the youth arrived at hospital, handcuffs were initially removed but were temporarily reapplied when the youth became combative while being admitted for assessment. Once he had calmed down, the handcuffs were removed and the youth was admitted to hospital under the care of a physician,” Steed said.

In some of the responses to the video, users question the use of force, something that has been asked following another viral video in which a woman who was experiencing a mental health crisis was restrained and Tasered at a SkyTrain station by two Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers.

“It is unfortunate that police officers need to respond to ongoing mental health issues and it is our hope that more resources become available for families in order to find the support they need without involving law enforcement,” Steed said about the January 26 incident.

“We have reached out to our partners at Canucks Autism Network who provide law enforcement training, for support and guidance to better deal with neurodivergent individuals who present an increased risk due to escalating violent behaviour, over and above the regular training we get from them as well as Pacific Autism Family Network.”

We are appalled by the horrendous treatment of an indigenous boy by the Vancouver Transit Police. Children deserve to be cared for with compassion, instead were met with callous violence. Our hands go up to the mother who acted bravely in such a horrific situation,” the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said on Twitter.

BC Children’s Hospital is conducting a review.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
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01 Feb 2023, 1:17 pm

That's not right nor would I automatically choose to handcuff someone, unless they posed a serious dangerous threat unto others or themselves; which in this case is not at all..