August 23, 2019: Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP) vehemently condemns the violent arrest of a 14 year old boy in our community on August 20, 2019.
The 14 year old child sustained bodily harm and everlasting psychological injuries as a result of these police officers’ brutal actions. His mother, entire family, witnesses and the community are shocked by the level of violence and disregard for human rights displayed by these officers. Bystander videos, video surveillance from the building, news coverage, and social media on the matter indicate that the three police officers did not exercise caution and de-escalation techniques to deal with the 14 year old child, instead publicly brutalized and humiliated him. All this while he had no weapons and did not try to assault any of the armed, heavy built adult police officers.
The video shows the teen being pushed by one of the officers and the other officer in particular repeatedly punching and kicking the boy, while another officer is threatening bystanders that if they wouldn’t move they would get arrested. The teen is seen being hit repeatedly while being held by three police officers to the ground. He is then handcuffed and his feet are later hogtied by his own belt and he had to hobble through the community while hogtied. The force seen in the videos can only be described as excessive and absolutely unnecessary. People are watching and filming while this is happening. Some are warning the police that he is just a little kid, but young black boys in our community, much like the US, are not afforded the right of being regarded as a “child”. The police blatantly disregard the public outcry, demonstrating their lack of professionalism, abuse of power and justification of their actions. This violence and over exertion of police power has been normalized through the system’s lack of accountability for the abuse the police inflict systemically on both adults and children from poor, black and other racialized communities.
The family needs the support of our community and all concerned individuals and organizations in their pursuit of justice. As a community, we will have to make sure that they are supported and we warn police to avoid further damaging or intimidating acts towards his family.
The symbolism of a Black child being hogtied is highly disturbing and must be immediately addressed by the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Toronto. The young teen was brutalized and the psychological damage will take years to mend. Had this happened later at night or in an area less populated one could only imagine what would have happened to him.
JFAAP demands a public inquiry, disciplinary and criminal charges to be filed against Toronto police for the violent attack to the 14 year old boy. The public inquiry should take place to look into the training police receive when interacting with children and youth in our community, systemic racism, especially the targeting of black youth, the facts of the case, outcomes and recommendations. It is necessary to provide accountability and transparency to the public and ensure that judicial recourse is possible in cases of police brutality such as this.
JFAAP stands in solidarity with the family involved and demand justice.
CC: All community residents, organizations and grass-roots groups in the community and allies across the City of Toronto, elected politicians, Mayor of Toronto, Chief of Police, and media.