Mom regrets calling police about her son after officer charged with hitting him

The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly hit by a Winnipeg police officer after a temper tantrum says she's happy the veteran officer is facing an assault charge.

'I don't hit my kids,' mother says after police officer allegedly slapped her 12-year-old boy

The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly hit by a Winnipeg police officer speaks to CBC reporter Austin Grabish Wednesday night. The boy and his family cannot be identified due to a publication ban under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly hit by a Winnipeg police officer after a temper tantrum says she's happy the veteran officer is facing an assault charge.

"I hope it prevents him from hitting someone else," said the boy's mother, in an interview with CBC News on Wednesday night. "I don't hit my kids."

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said Wednesday it planned to charge the police officer, a 16-year member of the force, with assault.

The IIU said the boy was not injured but Zane Tessler, its director, determined there were "reasonable and probable grounds to believe a criminal offence occurred."

CBC News cannot name the boy or anything that would identify him due to a publication ban under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The boy's mom says she regrets calling police and doesn't hit her kids, because she was hit while growing up in foster care. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The boy's mom said the Aug. 7 incident took place in her home after she called police asking for help with her boy, who was having a tantrum and throwing garbage and recycling.

Two police officers, a man and a woman, showed up at her house and went to talk to the boy, who had a cast on his left arm.

The 12-year-old swore at the male officer, who asked the boy to go outside. The boy swore again, told the officer to "suck [penis]" and that's when his family says the officer hit the boy before taking him outside.

'Shouldn't have hit him over words'

"He shouldn't have hit him over words. He could have just sat him down, talked to him, tell him, you know, you shouldn't be talking to me like that, but he didn't," said the boy's 21-year-old sister, who said she saw the officer hit her brother and heard the loud smack.

The boy's 21-year-old sister says the police officer should have sat her brother down and tried to talk to him. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

"He's a grown man and he should know better," she said. "I don't even lay a hand on my brother even though he gets me mad sometimes."

The boy's mom said her son returned home a few minutes later and she was left shaken by the ordeal. She said she's made it a point not to hit her five children.

"When I was in foster care, when I was young, I used to get hit, so I told myself it's not going to be the same as when I was growing up."

Boy has previous assault charge

The boy's mother said her son isn't perfect and he has been involved with police before. She said he's been charged with robbery and assault for a bike theft where he took back his bike that was stolen.

The 12-year-old has spent time behind bars at a youth correctional facility and recently started probation. He has a court-ordered 10 p.m. curfew, his mom said.

Winnipeg police said Wednesday that the officer was placed on administrative duty. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 17.


​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg. Since joining CBC in 2016, he's covered several major stories. Some of his career highlights have been documenting the plight of asylum seekers leaving America in the dead of winter for Canada and the 2019 manhunt for two teenage murder suspects. In 2021, he won an RTDNA Canada award for his investigative reporting on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which triggered change. Have a story idea? Email:

With files from Tessa Vanderhart