Peel Regional Police will investigate an incident that involved a physical altercation between a boy and an OPP officer at a skate park in Gravenhurst, Ont., on Sunday.
Under Ontario’s current stay-at-home order, skate parks are closed, along with other outdoor amenities, such as golf courses, baseball diamonds and basketball courts.
After Sunday’s incident, a video circulated on social media that appears to show a Bracebridge OPP officer push a boy, causing him to fall on the ground.
After the altercation, a voice in the video is heard saying, “What the f*ck are you doing, bud? He’s 12 years old.”
The officer is then heard saying the boy is “failing to identify.”
On Tuesday, OPP released a statement that said officers stopped to speak with a group of young people, “none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing.”
Police say officers then tried to interact with the group, which led to a “physical confrontation” between an officer and a youth.
Brodie O’Hare, 19, was at the skate park when the physical altercation took place and was with the individual who filmed the interaction.
“There was between 11 and 14 of us there, but … there was about four to five people sitting around a bench talking amongst themselves,” O’Hare told Global News Radio 640 Toronto Monday.
“The rest of us were doing scooter tricks on our skateboard or on a bike, and these cops drove past a few times before they said anything.”
About the third or fourth time the police passed by, O’Hare said he remembers officers saying, “Masks up.”
“I think every little kid there put a mask on,” O’Hare said. “I went to my car and grabbed mine, put it on.”
According to the 19-year-old witness, OPP passed by again and didn’t say anything before they pulled in because there was a group of people standing in a circle talking.
“When these cops pulled in … a few of us kind of just escaped the group and started doing tricks again, and a few of us started talking still,” O’Hare said.
“These cops got out of their car and they approached one of the older kids and he didn’t say anything. He just denied everything and walked off the property of the skate park to his car.”
O’Hare said some kids got lippy, although the boy who was involved with the physical altercation didn’t.
“The kid that got pushed over, he wasn’t giving any lip — nothing,” O’Hare said. “He was cooperating. They even asked for his name and his phone number for his parents.”
O’Hare said the boy is OK and that there aren’t any injuries that he knows of, although he said the boy was shaken after the altercation.
“He was bawling his eyes out,” O’Hare added. “As soon as he got his scooter back from that police officer, he just went off and went straight home.”
On Tuesday, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said he’s requested Peel Regional Police to investigate the 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 (the) highest levels of professionalism and accountability,” Carrique said in a statement.
The OPP has reassigned the officer involved in the incident to administrative duties until the investigation is complete.
“I never want to see this again in my life, especially with my own eyes being less than 10 feet away from it,” O’Hare said.
“There should be no reason a cop puts their hands on a person like that, especially when he didn’t put his hands on that police officer.”
Witnesses of the incident can contact Peel Regional Police at 905-453-3311.
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