'I thought they were going to kill me': Teen recounts arrest by OPP
OTTAWA -- A 14-year-old girl says she felt “like a ragdoll” and feared for her life when members of the Russell County OPP took her to the ground and arrested her outside her house in a town east of Ottawa earlier this week.
On Tuesday, the girl, who cannot be named because her identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, said she and her friends were playing ding-dong ditch—a prank where you ring someone’s doorbell then run away. She says police showed up soon after, told her to get inside her house and she asked an officer why they were there.
“He grabbed me and I remember pulling my arm away super fast and saying ‘don’t touch me please, I have autism, I have sensory issues you cannot touch me, I can’t be touched’ but he touched me again and I have bruises on my arm, that’s a bruise from him grabbing me,” she said.
The teen admits to biting and kicking an officer.
“They lifted me up, they dropped me to the ground but slowed me down when I was at the pavement and then he turned my face and put it down on the pavement really aggressively,” she said, adding officers had put a “spit hood” on her.
“I can’t even wear ‘corona’ masks because it’s too much for me. The fact they put something over my head was horrific for me, I just remember feeling dizzy, feeling like I was going to faint.”
In response, police said “the use of a spit hood is reserved for those in custody who have actively demonstrated spitting behaviour. It is used for the protection of our officers and any civilians in the nearby vicinity, especially required for COVID-19 precautions.”
She’s been charged under the Trespass to Property Act with failing to leave premises when directed to and causing a disturbance and assaulting a peace officer under the Criminal Code.
Videos showing some of the interaction between the girl and police have been widely shared online.
“I can’t watch the videos anymore,” said the girl’s mother. “To see her feet off the ground, her head being whipped around, it makes me sick to my stomach.”
Her mother said a sergeant told her “we’re human too and we can get provoked just like anybody else.”
The woman believes police should have tried harder to de-escalate the situation.
“A simple ‘we got a phone call that you were trespassing, we will be there to speak with you in a moment, please wait in the house,’ she would’ve gone into the home…that never happened, there was zero verbal de-escalation,” she said.
A neighbour who witnessed the incident and didn’t want to be identified said “I saw the cop pick her up in the air and throw her into the cop car and call her stupid.”
“I understand she was being defensive and maybe a little bit defiant with the police but there was no reason for the police officer to slam her down on the concrete,” she said.
In a statement, OPP said it “takes all allegations against its officers seriously and will investigate, then take appropriate action.”
The neighbour who called police says there have been ongoing issues between their families.
He says what happened involving the doorbell was the last straw and that he called police who arrived to take a statement in person.
“To be very honest we feel very sorry that this even had to come to fruition,” the man said, adding that he doesn’t know what exactly triggered the incident.
“In terms of force or anything, I didn’t personally see any excessive force,” he said. “This was literally a maybe three to five minute ordeal and you’re only seeing that 10 second window of time of being picked up and put on the ground, etc. you’re missing that whole span of how did this come about.”
While the teen says she regrets what happened, she doesn’t understand how it got so out of control.
“I understand it was wrong of me and it won’t happen again, trust me, but I don’t understand why it had to be put into that proportion.”