'I was in shock': Video captures OPP officer throwing 16-yea

Police brutality is the wanton use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries, even those that prosecute it. It is one of several forms of police misconduct, which include: false arrest, intimidation, racial profiling, political repression, surveillance abuse, sexual abuse and police corruption.

'I was in shock': Video captures OPP officer throwing 16-yea

Postby Thomas » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:20 am

'I was in shock': Video captures OPP officer throwing 16-year-old Indigenous girl to the ground during arrest

Incident occurred Tuesday in Sioux Lookout; OPP say officer was assaulted

The woman who captured a widely-circulated video showing an OPP officer forcefully throwing a 16-year-old Indigenous girl to the ground in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday says she was shocked as she watched the incident unfold.

Akeesha Footman captured the incident on video with her phone as it occurred as she, her sister and mother drove through Sioux Lookout, during their first visit to the northern Ontario town.

"We saw a young person sitting on a bench, with earphones in, visibly distressed, crying," she said. "There was a police officer with his hands on that young person."

Footman said her mother stopped the vehicle and rolled down the window, but the officer told them to leave.

As they drove off, Footman said she then saw the officer "being rough with the person."

They drove back, and Footman started recording the video that's been since uploaded to Facebook.

The beginning of the video shows the officer forcing the girl to the ground. There are gasps of shock from inside the vehicle, and Footman can be heard shouting "we're recording."

The vehicle drives forward, and the officer is seen appearing to handcuff the girl, who's lying face-down on the street. The officer attempts to lift her up as more police arrive, and the officer then directs one of his colleagues to go and take the information of Footman, her mother and sister.

The girl is placed in a police cruiser by several officers. Then, the officer initially involved in the altercation comes to the vehicle. During the interaction with the van's occupants, he repeatedly asks for their names, and tells them the girl kicked and spit on him.

Footman's mother tells the officer she was just trying to make sure the girl was all right.

"Why wouldn't she be all right?" the officer replies. "I'm here to help people, ma'am."

Footman's mother then tells the officer the girl looked like she was in distress.

"What kind of distress do you think she would be in?" the officer replies, and then points out a mental health worker is also on the scene assisting.

The officer also tells the vehicle's occupants it would have been "helpful" if they had assisted him while he was "being assaulted."

"You told us not to stop," Footman's mother replies. "You told me that it was none of my concern."

In the end, the no officers actually take down the names of the witnesses. However, the officer can be seen writing down the vehicle's licence plate number at the end of the video.

"I was in shock," Footman recalled. "My hand's shaking when he comes up to the car. It's hard to tell, but I'm shaking at that point because my sister's in the back seat crying. There's nothing we can do to help that young person at that point."

Footman said the chief of Lac Seul First Nation reached out and asked to see the video. Representatives of Lac Seul could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Footman said the girl's mother has also seen the video, and spoke to Footman.

"Nobody told her that that's the way that they treated her daughter," Footman said. "She thanked us for recording that incident."

When contacted by CBC News on Wednesday, an OPP spokesman said the organization is aware of the video, and were looking into it.

OPP did provide some more details about the arrest itself in a media release issued Wednesday afternoon.

OPP said the officer had been notified about the girl by a member of the public, who was concerned for her safety.

The girl, OPP said, was known to police, and was "highly intoxicated" when located on Fifth Avenue. As the officer attempted to arrest her, he was assaulted.

The girl is facing assault charges, and appeared in Dryden court on Wednesday.

Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance said Wednesday he'd seen the video, and spoken to the chair of the town's police services board, as well as the local OPP inspector about it.

"The video is really like a snapshot," he said. "We don't have the information that led into that. We don't have the follow-up. I know that the police inspector said he'd be following up with the officers."

"I think that, in general, the police do an excellent job of dealing in Sioux Lookout with social situation that are left in the laps of police due to gaps in services," he said. "We have no detox, we have no addictions treatment centres, we need a fully-resources emergency shelter."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder- ... -1.5109350
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Video of Indigenous teen’s arrest in Northern Ontario sparks

Postby Thomas » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:21 am

Video of Indigenous teen’s arrest in Northern Ontario sparks outrage

In the Northern Ontario city of Sioux Lookout, at 5:42 p.m. on Tuesday, an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police tried to arrest a drunk 16-year-old, who resisted, according to a police press release. The teen was charged with three counts of assault and held in custody.

What the OPP release didn’t mention, however, was the existence of a video posted to social media the night before that seemed to show another side of the confrontation.

In a nearly five-minute clip that has been viewed tens of thousands of times, the officer can be seen pushing an Indigenous girl to the ground, where she appears to lie unconscious. He and another officer then drag her limp body into the back of a police cruiser.

On Wednesday, the girl, who can’t be identified because she is a minor charged with a crime, had two large gashes on her face and a purple lump over her left eye.

Standing outside the emergency room of the local hospital, where her mother brought her to be checked out, she said she felt “sore” and said her head was pounding. She spoke of emotional wounds, too.

“I feel kind of scared because of what happened,” she said. “He shouldn’t treat someone like that, I guess.”​

For some here, the video has crystallized a loss of trust between Indigenous people and the police, in a region that has received national attention for the same problem.

“I wish when I looked at it I thought, ‘How could this be? How could this happen in my town?’ ” said Sylvia Davis, a teacher at Pelican Falls First Nations High School in Sioux Lookout, and a member of the nearby Lac Seul First Nation. “But I can’t be like that, because I know this goes on here.”

On Wednesday, the girl’s mother, who also cannot be identified, spoke through tears as she described her anger and sadness at what had happened to her daughter, and said she would be pursuing legal action against the provincial police force. “I’m hurting still. I’m mad … I still haven’t slept,” she said. “I’m not going to let this go.”

OPP spokesperson Mike Golding declined to comment on the officer’s conduct during the girl’s arrest and cautioned against rushing to judgment based on the footage. “The video only shows a small part of the interaction,” he said by e-mail. “We can’t comment on the officer’s actions if we don’t know what transpired moments before.”

In the video, taken by Lakehead University nursing student Akeesha Footman, the officer can be heard saying that the girl was “spitting and kicking” him. “I would also appreciate it … when I’m in distress, when I’m getting assaulted, that somebody help me, too, right?" he tells Ms. Footman and her mother, who also witnessed the incident.

The girl was released after a bail hearing in Dryden, Ont., Wednesday morning. She faces one count of assault with intent to resist arrest, one count of assaulting a peace officer and one count of simple assault. She faces a fourth charge of failing to comply with a previous court order.

But after seeing the video of her daughter’s arrest, the girl’s mother is left wondering why her daughter is the one being charged with assault.

“I want to know why he handled my daughter with that much power,” she said. “They were too rough. Way too rough.”

The mother described a harrowing day on Tuesday, as she realized her daughter had taken money out of the bank. Around 4 p.m. she said she left work early and went looking for the girl. When she found her intoxicated on the streets of Sioux Lookout, the mother found a nearby OPP officer and asked him to arrest the girl so she could sober up in safety.

“I didn’t know this was going to happen,” the mother said.

Though she said the video is painful to watch, she thanked the young woman who filmed it. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t know what happened to my daughter,” she said.

Ms. Footman said she was looking for a grocery store when she saw a police officer speaking to a girl on a bench.

“He looked at us and said, ‘Can I help you?’ And he said, ‘This does not concern you, you need to leave.’ So we drove off,” she recalled. “But then I looked back and saw him hit her.”

It was around then that Ms. Footman began recording. “I was in shock at that point,” she said. “We were wondering, ‘How many times does this happen, that it’s not witnessed?’ ”

In nearby Thunder Bay, four hours south, two official reports have put a spotlight on systemic bias against Indigenous people in the local police force. Last December, Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeilly found that “racist attitudes” contributed to inadequate investigations into the deaths of nine Indigenous people in the city.

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OPP officer videotaped throwing girl to the ground during ar

Postby Thomas » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:23 am

OPP officer videotaped throwing girl to the ground during arrest in Sioux Lookout

A 16-year old girl sitting on a bench in Sioux Lookout, Ont., was arrested after an Ontario Provincial Police officer claims she spit at him.

The incident, including a struggle where the officer is seen throwing the teen to the ground, was recorded by Dr. Debby Wilson Danard and her daughter.

They were driving past and stopped but the officer told them to move on.

They’re now wondering why the arrest happened the way it did.

“He just threw him down, face first into the cement,” Wilson Danard can be heard in the four-minute video posted to Facebook Tuesday.

Wilson Danard said she was driving around lost in the small northern Ontario town when she saw what looked like a young boy crying so she stopped and rolled down the window.

“The cop asked, ‘Can I help you?’ And I said, ‘We’re just stopping because it looks like he’s in distress.’”

They continued on but turned around out of concern. That’s when her daughter, sitting in the front passenger seat, started recording.

“There’s three more cops coming – he’s just a little boy!” Wilson Danard can be heard in the video.

“Two more!” she screams out as more officers arrive.

The ‘little boy’ turned out to be a 16-year old female, who police have now charged with three counts of assault, including assaulting a peace officer.

In a media release, police say the youth was highly intoxicated.

The Indigenous teen’s mother, who arrived near the end of the video, told APTN News she asked the police to help her daughter sober up.

But it wasn’t until she got home and saw the video online that she realized what happened.

“That’s when I finally seen how they handled my daughter. My heart broke,” she told APTN in a Facebook message.

In the video, the arresting officer tells Wilson Danard a mental health nurse just arrived on scene but she says that should have happened sooner.

“Where was the youth person, is what I want to know? Where was that mental health worker? Because when she was sitting on the bench crying, I’m pretty sure somebody could’ve been there then,” Wilson Danard said.

She said her own family, including her 11-year old daughter who was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, was traumatized by what they saw.

They’re also concerned about the way they were questioned by police.

In the video, the arresting officer walks over to the vehicle and asks for their names, explaining he needs it for a warrant to get the phone, they’re in a motor vehicle, and witnesses to the youth spitting at and kicking him.

He also asks why they were recording him. When they say it was their right to record as members of the public, he wonders why they didn’t help him.

“Alright, well I would appreciate as also the public when I’m in distress – when I’m getting assaulted – that somebody help me, too, right?” the officer can be heard saying in the video.

Wilson Danard, who has a doctorate in social justice education, called his comments ridiculous.

“Only because you have the gun, you have the handcuffs, you’re like twice or three times bigger than this person. You don’t want me to help that person but you would like me to what, tackle this 95-pound person for you? Like, you lost control,” Wilson Danard told APTN.

A spokesperson for the OPP in Thunder Bay told APTN they are aware of the video but haven’t received any complaints about the officer or the arrest.

Wilson Danard said she reached out to the OPP’s Indigenous Bureau in Orillia about the incident and plans to contact community services for support.

“It must be that we had to see it so that people would be talking, because we have to have these conversations,” she said.

The teen was released from custody and taken to hospital to get checked out by her mother.

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Arrest video shines national spotlight on race relations in

Postby Thomas » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:15 pm

Arrest video shines national spotlight on race relations in Sioux Lookout

When he’s wearing his sharp grey blazer and blue Oxford shirt, Sol Mamakwa gets by fine in Sioux Lookout.

Being visibly Indigenous isn’t much of a liability, he says – if he’s dressed like a young urban professional who splits his time between Toronto and Northern Ontario. After all, he is the local MPP.

At other times, though, it doesn’t seem to matter that Mr. Mamakwa, who is a member of Kingfisher Lake First Nation, represents a sprawling majority-Indigenous riding northwest of Thunder Bay. When he isn’t dressed up, he says his skin colour is sometimes treated as a stigma.

“If I’ve come off the lake, and I have my hoodie and cap. You’re treated differently,” the NDP MPP said. “I’m so used to it, I just shrug it off. I’m used to being treated second class. I’m used to not getting service quickly, not getting attended to quickly.”

Racial discrimination in Sioux Lookout has come under a national spotlight this week, after a video on social media showed a local Ontario Provincial Police officer pushing an Indigenous girl to the ground while arresting her, which apparently left her unconscious – evidence, according to some local First Nations people, of chronic police mistreatment.

Mr. Mamakwa met with the head of the local OPP detachment about the incident on Thursday, and said he is keeping an open mind about the events leading up the arrest. But the video has clearly left a mark on him.

“My initial reaction is, of course, concerned and disturbed just because of the amount of force being done to a young girl,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the provincial police look into the matter, and activists in the region plan protests, this town of 5,500 continues to grapple with the legacy of racism that shapes everyday life in Ontario’s “hub of the North.”

“Whether it’s the policing system, the justice system – these are colonial systems,” Mr. Mamakwa said. “And these systems typically discriminate against our people. And when these things happen sometimes we shake it off and normalize it too much.”

The 16-year-old girl in the video has not shaken it off. Her mother said that she is struggling in the aftermath of the arrest, which left her with two gashes on her face and a lump over her left eye. (Neither can be identified because the girl is a minor and has been charged with three counts of assault in relation to the incident. In a news release, the OPP said she was “highly intoxicated” at the time.)

“She’s still quiet,” her mother said. “Scared.”

Candace Kitchkeesick, an activist based in Thunder Bay, is part of a group planning a protest in Sioux Lookout next week. Though she is white, she has a 15-year-old Indigenous daughter in town and says the girl has faced police harassment, including being questioned while sitting on the steps of her house.

“The reason I’m protesting is because of the violence against Indigenous youth,” she said. “This behaviour needs to stop.”

Police attitudes toward Indigenous people in northwestern Ontario have received heightened scrutiny in recent months. A pair of official reports have recently identified a culture of broken trust and systemic racism in the police force and civilian police board of Thunder Bay, 270 kilometres southeast of Sioux Lookout. In December, Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeilly found that investigations into the deaths of nine Indigenous people in Thunder Bay were hindered by “racist attitudes” on the force.

In Sioux Lookout, video of the girl’s arrest this week has reinforced what some felt they already knew – policing here is not immune from bigotry against Indigenous people.

“It’s very hard to watch a person from your group and your community being treated like that,” said Sylvia Davis, a teacher at Pelican Falls First Nations High School in Sioux Lookout, and a member of the nearby Lac Seul First Nation. “You wonder, ‘Why does this happen? Does this person view this child as a human?’ ”

OPP spokesman Mike Golding said the force is assessing the officer’s behaviour in the case to determine whether a professional-standards investigation is warranted.

But Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance said the town’s “committed and compassionate” police force is not the problem.

“The video is a snapshot – it doesn’t show the lead-in to the incident,” he said. “I’m saddened for a young girl that she’s so intoxicated that she’s in a public place putting herself and perhaps others in danger.”

As for the girl’s injuries, the mayor said they did not convince him the arrest was improper.

“Often you’ll see people in an intoxicated state in Sioux Lookout who look pretty rough from the get-go. So I’m cautious about making any statements about this case,” he said. “I think we should let experts in arrest procedure comment on those procedures.”

The deeper problem in Sioux Lookout is that the town lacks the necessary resources to cope with a steady influx of First Nations people from remote reserves who come here to seek health care and other services, Mr. Lawrance said. The town is a hub for 29 such communities, and their residents often bring formidable addiction and mental-health challenges with them.

Mr. Lawrence has been calling for a fully funded homeless shelter and the construction of a detox facility in town, and supports the idea of a supervised drug-consumption site here. In the meantime, he said, police deal with people who would be better served by other supports.

“It’s the police that are put at the forefront of that and then what do they do?” he said. “There is no detox. So they take them to the detachment.”

Ultimately, the mayor says this small northern community has been given the near-impossible task of managing a country’s worth of demons.

“I think Sioux Lookout deals on a micro level with some of the situations the society has created and [we’re] dealing with them as best we can,” he said. “What’s led to this is decades and decades of poor policies, decades of intergenerational trauma.”

“You’ll see the sad history that Canada has created here.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/ ... -in-sioux/
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Video of Indigenous teen’s arrest shows the sad state of ‘no

Postby Thomas » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:15 pm

The first frame of the video shows an Ontario Provincial Police officer throwing a slight, First Nations youth to the ground in one swift movement. There’s a sharp intake of breath from somewhere behind the camera, and a voice yells, “We are recording!”

This has become the new normal — people whipping out phones and recording an interaction with police.


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