Ontario’s Human Right Tribunal has awarded damages of $35,000 to a six-year-old girl after Peel police officers handcuffed her in school.
In a remedy decision announced on December 31, 2020, Tribunal adjudicator Brenda Bowlby noted that this alarming incident was a case of anti-black racism shown to a little girl. She also gave Peel police until mid-February to pay the amount to the girl’s mother in the form of a trust for injury to dignity, feelings and respect and also to help with psychological and counselling fees.
Human rights lawyer near me – Implicit Racial Biases leads to the alarming event
Last year, the Tribunal found the police guilty of seriously breaching the girl’s human rights influenced by the two white police officers’ implicit racial biases. The Tribunal adjudicator found them guilty of using ‘racially discriminatory force’ when they handcuffed the child at her school.
On September 30, 2016, the two Peel police officers were called to the Mississauga school to de-escalate the child’s situation. They tried multiple times to de-escalate the matter and then chose to handcuff the six-year-old black girl twice, first at the ankles and then at the wrists.
They claim to have handcuffed the child as they feared for her safety but kept the girl in the same position for about 28 minutes. It was the fourth time the school had called the police to assist with the child. In the ruling, the adjudicator commented that the two police officers ended up overreacting due to their racial bias.
In the previous decision released on February 24, 2020, Bowlby wrote that the police officers had implicit associations of the applicant’s race and perceived the child to be bigger, stronger, and in need of control than any other child in that situation. She did not award any criminal charges against the officers – Constable Nick Eckley and Constable Slav Kosaver. Their actions were noted to be ‘punitive’ and ‘shocking’ in nature and led the child to become fearful of the police after the incident. The child started withdrawing from others after the incident and felt ashamed and humiliated.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director subjected the two officers to an independent investigation that found no reasonable grounds to identify that any discrimination took place against the child due to her race.
Human rights lawyer near me – Legal Implications of the Case
As per a statement released by the child’s mother, she felt happy that this “difficult and lengthy chapter is finally over.” She also mentioned that the incident gave her community a feeling of hope where they often feel the lack of any recourse. She said that her daughter should have been handled with due care as a six-year-old who needed help and not victimized and criminalized.
She further stated that it’s inappropriate for the police to be called to deal with children in school under the age of 12 years. While the tribunal hearings were going on, she found that the police had been previously called to the school multiple times to help with her child at school.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Peel police to address systemic racism in policing. The MoU also has a pledge from the Peel police to make significant changes in how services are provided to children under the age of 12 years. After this incident, Constable Sarah Patten from the Peel police confirmed that they had created specialized teams now that included mental health experts too. Peel police also share that they will work with all stakeholders in a meaningful, timely manner and improve their service delivery.
Human rights lawyer near me – How We Can Help
It is vital to stop any systemic racist behavior right when it happens. If you or a loved one has been subjected to any racist biases or feel that your human rights have been infringed upon, speak to our compassionate human rights lawyers today. Call us to book your free initial consultation and embrace a better tomorrow.