The six-year-old black child that was handcuffed and led to the police car of a Peel region officer has won 35,000 dollars in a Human Rights Tribunal ruling.
The decision comes approximately one year after the Tribunal ruled that two Peel police officers’ actions against the six-year-old constituted a “very serious” breach of the child’s human rights. The girl and her mother were represented by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
J.B, the child’s mother had this to say about the ruling;
“I am happy this rather lengthy and difficult chapter is finally over,” said J.B., the child’s mother and litigation guardian. “I can now focus on what lies ahead, which is making my daughter whole. This decision gives my community hope where we often feel there’s no recourse.” The family’s identity is protected by a publication ban.
When the two Peel officers arrived on the scene they handcuffed the child’s wrists and ankles and placed her on her stomach, with her hands behind her back. The officers held the girl in that position for approximately 28 minutes.
According to the staff that called the officers the child was “acting violently and that they couldn’t calm her down.” Police say it was necessary to handcuff her she was a danger to herself and other students and staff. At the time of the incident she was roughly 50 pounds.
It was the fourth time that the police had been called to the school for assistance in dealing with the child that month.
The Tribunal adjudicator Brenda Bowlby found the officers’ actions “shocking” and “punitive.” Bowlby found that the child had become fearful of the police, suffered teasing, felt humiliation, shame and guilt and had withdrawn from her friends as a result of the incident.
Bowlby wrote about the decision;
“The applicant has suffered implicit harm in experiencing anti-Black racism at a very tender age,” wrote Bowlby. “[T]hat the applicant would experience anti-Black racism at such a young age is alarming: it is clear that, because of this incident, she became aware that as a Black person, she may be subject to different treatment than a white child. The full impact of this is unknown but it is now part of the applicant’s lived experience and will affect her into the future.”
Sergeant Josh Colley of the Peel regional police said “It’s an insult to think that someone would say that race played a part in the way that we dealt with this situation.”
The applicant asked the Tribunal to order revised training, implement an interim protocol response for its officers at schools, data collection and compliance measures including deadlines for meeting these directions. The Tribunal declined as the Peel Police had recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Included in this Memorandum of Understanding is a requirement to make substantial changes to how Peel Police provide services to children under the age of 12. Peel Regional Police and the Peel Police Services Board have also agreed to develop legally binding remedies to address systemic racism in policing.
The Memorandum of Understanding had this to say;
“Peel Regional Police (hereinafter referred to as PRP) is a municipal police service governed by the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 15 (PSA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c M. 56 (MFIPPA).”
“Under section 1 of the PSA, police services must be provided throughout Ontario in accordance with certain principles, including the importance of safeguarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code.”
The irony of this is that the police seem to have abandoned their duty on section 1 of the Police Services Act during their enforcement of government Covid dictates.
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