‘It is sickening’: Canadians outraged by clip of Vancouver police handcuffing Indigenous child with autism

After an Indigenous boy with autism was handcuffed by Vancouver police last Thursday, a disturbing video circulating online shocked the public.

The 12-year-old boy is seen being held down on the floor by two Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers at BC Children’s Hospital in the video, which was shared by his mother.

The mother can be heard in the background pleading with the officers to release her son and explaining that he has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is also heard saying that he was reacting because he wasn’t in his usual hospital room.

“I respect both #VancouverPolice and #TranslinkPolice but this was a first. We are at #bcchildrenshospital waiting to see a doctor. My kid has been diagnosed with conditions and I the parent do my best with his behaviour,” Mia Brown wrote under the video.

“My kid wanted the usual waiting room, but it was taken so my son started whining, and a moment later he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. My son was crying while the officer (with the glasses) had his knee on my kid’s back. I tried to take these men off my kid but I couldn’t even pull their hands off, so I started recording. I told the officer that what they just did to my kid was not right.”

According to the CBC, Transit police were called just before 5 p.m. that day by a SkyTrain attendant at the Broadway-Commercial Station.

They discovered the boy who was “physically assaulting a woman, later identified as his mother,” according to their CBC statement.

“Officers attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation, but the youth began trying to push their mother toward the tracks, causing an even greater concern for her safety.”

They also stated that the mother’s face was bloodied and that the boy assaulted the SkyTrain attendant when they attempted to intervene.

“The use of physical force is always a last resort,” transit police told the CBC.

The hospital stated that “providing an inclusive and culturally safe health-care environment for patients and their families is a top priority.”

The hospital says it has launched an investigation into what happened, and its Indigenous health team has reached out to the boy’s family to offer assistance.

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) also issued a statement about the young boy’s mistreatment, saying they were “appalled by the horrendous treatment” of the boy.

“Children deserve to be cared for with compassion, instead were met with callous violence. Our hands go up to the mother who acted bravely in such a horrific situation,” the statement said.

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