When the young boy, 9, was separated from other kids at the centre July 28 he barricaded himself inside of the room. Workers at the centre called the police to help with the child who has Asperger syndrome and other disorders fearing that he could endanger himself or others.
The Toronto Police were called in to intervene. They broke down the door and placed the boy in handcuffs. Those cuffs were removed quickly as the boy calmed down. In the end the little boy hugged those officers.
His mother, Linda Dastous is angry that her son was cuffed and is concerning legal action according to CityTV
. His mother says he is afraid of the police. Today he is not able to return to the centre or any others run by the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF). Dastous said, "My son is traumatized, I'm traumatized, I'm devastated. It's something my son is never ever going to forget."
Constable Drummond detailed the facts from last month's incident in a phone interview.
"When the call came in the child was reported as being quite violent. The first officer arrived witnessing the child's violent behavior. At this point he called for back-up." Drummond added that the first officer on the scene had worked with the department's youth services. Two back-up officers arrived at the scene, one of whom had joined the service after years in the health care field and had professional experience dealing with mental illness. The three officers did then break down the door and placed the child in handcuffs. Within five minutes of the first officer's arrival a nurse with the Police Crisis Intervention Unit, who has 30 years of experience, was at the scene. The child calmed down within those five minutes and the cuffs were removed.
"The little boy was hugging the officers and giving handshakes to all those at the scene by the end of the incident," Drummond said.
Constable Wendy Drummond understands the mother's anger; she is a mother also.
"Mothers are protective. In our world (policing) we are protective too but we have to be protective of the entire community," Drummond said adding, "Without knowing all the facts we understand how people would be upset in this case."
Drummond related that without all the facts of an incident it's understandable how the public can question the use of force with a child. "It's hard to understand that a 9-year-old would need to be restrained. The public doesn't always understand that a child can have the strength of an adult at times."
It's a difficult call for the police in these types of situations, children are very important to them. Drummond stressed, "It's our duty to protect that child and everyone else at the scene. We have to make sure everyone's safety is being looked after."
There were no charges filed as a result of this incident.