Ottawa

Youths toss fireworks into Canada Day crowds in Barrhaven

Ottawa police say they Tasered a 15-year-old boy during an arrest at the Canada Day celebrations in Clarke Fields Park in Barrhaven, where dozens of youths were causing trouble.

15-year-old boy was Tasered during arrest, police say

A 15-year-old boy was arrested for setting off fireworks during Canada Day celebrations in Clarke Fields Park in Barrhaven on July 1, 2018. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Ottawa police say they Tasered a 15-year-old boy during an arrest at the Canada Day celebrations in Clarke Fields Park in Barrhaven, where dozens of youths were causing trouble.

The boy was allegedly setting off fireworks during the day on the grounds of the event, according to Ottawa police. Security staff asked him to leave and he did, but he returned at about 9:30 p.m., police said.

An officer then Tasered and arrested the boy, Insp. Robert Drummond said Monday. 

The teen was later released and no charges were laid.

Drummond said charges were not laid because the situation defused quickly and the boy was young and did not have a criminal record.

Other youths involved

More than 100 teens were throwing and dropping firecrackers at each other and running away, said Darrell Bartraw, the festival's director. 

"The pack grew as the evening went on," he said Monday. "Kids were getting hit, a baby carriage got hit, a young person got one in the eye, they did it inside some of our tents." 

The incident was unexpected and it was difficult for police and security staff to handle the large crowd, Bartraw said.

"Our big thing is, what are we going to do next? Are we going to ruin this wonderful event that has been going on for 38 years because of a few people out of control?" he said.

'Police were being swarmed'

In a Facebook post, resident Filomena Hallett wrote that she'll "never return" to Barrhaven's Canada Day events after what happened.

"I saw [numerous] fights [where] police were being swarmed. I saw fireworks being thrown into crowds of children and families. I saw a little girl get hit with one of them. Pepper spray everywhere," she wrote.

"We left because the swarms of Barrhaven 'thuggish' youth were ... disrespectful to the families and kids trying to enjoy the firework display. I don't want my child's memories of Canada [Day] to be scary ones. My son even said to me, 'Wow mom, I will never act like that when I am older.' My [seven-year]-old!

"[It was] something out of the movies."

Pepper spray reportedly used 

As police tried to arrest one youth, the large group of teens began chanting and trying to pull him away, and Bartraw said police used pepper spray.

"Ten to 15 youth had burning eyes and were treated by first aid and paramedics," he said. "They were washing their eyes out." 

Police would not confirm reports that teens were pepper sprayed.

Michael Thompson, who was working at the event, said he too got some pepper spray in his eyes. 

"People were trying to free him, attempting to pull the kid away," Thompson said. "I didn't physically see the pepper spray but that's when everybody's eyes were burning and people were screaming."