Ottawa

Teen girl says she feared for her life during OPP arrest

A teenage girl says she was terrified when the OPP arrested her in front of her home earlier this week. Videos taken by neighbours show police grabbing the girl, pinning her to the ground, putting a knee on her back and swinging her.

Videos taken by neighbours show police pinning girl to the ground, putting a knee on her back and swinging her

Video shows OPP officers pinning teenager to the ground during arrest

2 years ago
Duration 0:46
Videos taken by neighbours show a teenage girl being led by the arm, pinned to the ground and then picked up and swung into a police car. OPP say officers were responding to a call from a neighbour who reported trespassing. CBC News has blurred the girl in the video because she cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A teenage girl says she feared for her life when the Ontario Provincial Police arrested her in front of her home earlier this week.

Videos taken by neighbours in a town east of Ottawa show police officers grabbing the teenage girl by the arm, pinning her to the ground, kneeling on her, and then picking up and carrying her to a police cruiser, while her legs swung off the ground.

Russell County OPP say they were called to respond to an incident on Tuesday afternoon that they considered to be "part of an ongoing neighbour dispute."

Police charged the young person under the Trespass to Property Act with failing to leave premises when directed to, and laid two more charges against the teen under the Criminal Code: causing a disturbance and assaulting a peace officer.

The teenage girl can't be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. CBC has blurred the girl's face and other features that might identify her. The blurring may also mask some of the details of the incident. 

Girl recounts ‘terrifying’ interaction with OPP officers

2 years ago
Duration 1:03
The girl, who can't be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, said OPP officers pushed her to the ground and handcuffed her after responding to a call from a neighbour Tuesday afternoon.

Police pin girl to ground

According to the girl, the incident began when she rang her neighbour's doorbell and ran in a game of ding-dong ditch. Later, four police cruisers arrived at the end of her driveway. Her parents were not home at the time. 

The girl said she tried repeatedly to ask police why they were there, but they didn't answer. One of the officers grabbed her by the arm, she said.

"I was like, 'Please don't touch me, please don't touch me. I can't be touched. I have anxiety. I have autism, please don't touch me,'" she said. Her mother says she has sensory issues and is on medication.

The girl said she kicked and tried to punch at the officer because she was scared. She said when an officer picked her up, she bit his arm that was in front of her face.

She said the police then put her on the ground, with her face against the pavement.

"They put their knee in my back and they pierced it into my back. It really hurt, I'm little. They grabbed my arms like I was some killer, like some big man," she said.

"I was scared I was going to die. These men were scaring me."

In the background, you can hear the girl's sister screaming, "Let her go! Let her go!"

The teen said they handcuffed her and lifted her off the ground by her arms, swinging her. The video shows her being carried into one of the four police officers' cars. She was then taken to the police station.

The teenager said she regrets the incident, but feels that police didn't respect her and made her "feel like a joke."

‘It makes me want to be sick’

2 years ago
Duration 0:36
The girl’s mother said seeing the video of the arrest was upsetting. The video appears to show OPP officers grabbing the girl by the arm, pinning her down and handcuffing her before lifting her off the ground and swinging her into a police car.

'It makes me want to be sick': mother

Her mother said she's seen videos of the incident taken by some of her neighbours, and spoke with them as well as her daughter about what happened. She said she's disappointed with how police treated her.

"I've never put my hands on my child, ever, as her mother and to see four grown men touch her, pick her up, throw her, put her to the ground, lift her up to the point where her legs are being swung in the air. It makes me want to be sick," her mother said.

"I feel like she was violated, as a mother, that's how I feel."

She said her daughter would have followed clear instructions from the police and she worries about how officers handle other situation involving mental health issues. 

Police vehicles at the Russell County detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

OPP investigating incident

In a statement, the OPP said that while it could not comment on "the mental health issues specific to this incident," its officers are trained to respond appropriately to situations involving mental health and to attempt a peaceful resolution.

However, the statement did say go on to say that the "officers utilized de-escalation techniques to attempt a peaceful resolution, however the assaultive behaviour continued and our officers effected an arrest."

The OPP said it takes all allegations against its officers seriously and will investigate, then take appropriate action. The spokesperson was not available for an interview. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Kupfer

CBC Reporter

Matthew Kupfer has been a reporter and producer at CBC News since 2012. He can be reached at matthew.kupfer@cbc.ca and on Twitter @matthewkupfer

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

now