Mother outraged that police officer charged with assaulting her son is not suspended
'All I'm asking as a parent, and to protect my son is for him to be suspended,' mother says
The mother of an 11-year-old says she's furious that a Rama Police Service officer charged by Ontario Provincial Police with assaulting the boy is still on duty,
"Do you know what it does to an 11-year-old boy when he sees him?" the mother said in a phone interview.
Her son is a minor and an alleged victim in a case before the courts, so CBC Toronto has chosen not to identify her or the child.
The mother, from Rama First Nation, about 150 kilometres north of Toronto, said her son "isn't free to leave the house without the fear of running into this officer."
Although the mother would like to see the officer suspended, he's currently still working with the force. Rama's police Chief John Domm said that in October, he chose to refer the matter to the professional standards bureau of the OPP, which laid the charge earlier this month.
The 30-year-old officer is a resident of Ramara Township and does not live on the Rama reserve.
The case dates back to Sept. 20. The woman said she was called into the principal's office at her son's school, where she met the officer.
She remembers him saying her son refused to leave the classroom and was saying inappropriate things. The officer escorted the boy out of the classroom and he said her son then squirted water in his face, the mother said.
Mom says she took officer's side at first
In the interview with CBC, she said that at first, she was on the officer's side and turned to her son.
"I was like, 'Why would you do that to an officer?' I was so annoyed. I told him how we needed to treat police officers with respect," she said.
But when she got home, she said, her son described a very different scenario.
"He said, 'Mom, I got to tell you what the officer did to me,'" she said.
Her son said he, the other kids and the officer were laughing and joking around.
Her son said he then used his water bottle, which sprays mist and makes a funny sound, to spray the officer.
The boy told her the officer knocked him off the exercise ball he was sitting on, grabbed him, put his arms behind his back, and dragged him out of the classroom and into the boys' washroom.
He told her the officer "spun him around, threw him against the wall, causing [him] to smash his head off the brick wall, and that's when the officer was swearing at him," she said.
The boy described the officer pointing his finger at his baton and saying, "'Do you know what the f--k this can do to you, if you ever do that again to me?'" she said.
The mother said she asked him why he didn't say anything in the principal's office.
"He said, 'Mom I was scared he would beat me up.'"
The woman found a red spot on the back of her son's head and took him to the hospital. A doctor there told her her son had a concussion, she said.
After that, she called police and reported the incident, she said.
Police chief defends decision
In response to the mother's accusations, Domm said,"All factors are taken into consideration and suspension determination rests with the chief's office."
Domm said it was his decision not to suspend the officer.
"The officer has been on restricted duty since the date of the complaint. Suspensions and those decisions are also fluid, something that is continually measured and re-evaluated," said Domm in an email to CBC. He didn't clarify the nature of the officer's duties.
The 11-year-old's mother said her community is small. According to 2013 figures, 665 people live on the reserve.
She said she and her son have had to endure seeing the officer several times since the incident.
"It's our home — he doesn't live here," she said.
"All I'm asking as a parent, and to protect my son, is for him to be suspended. Pay him to stay home. I don't care. Just get him out of my community until at least he goes to court and the court will decide if he's guilty or not guilty."
The OPP declined to offer details on its investigation.
The OPP said the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is not involved because it doesn't have jurisdiction over First Nations police forces. The SIU probes police conduct where a civilian is injured or dies.
The officer's first court appearance has been scheduled for Jan. 16.