Calgary’s top cop is speaking out after a 12-year-old boy was seriously injured during an altercation with police.
On Monday, Chief Roger Chaffin said he has a great deal of sympathy for the child’s family and admitted more training is needed for front-line officers.
“They go to the call knowing there’s a family in distress and there’s something bad going on and we are rolling in there to assess safety. What can we do to restore calm? When someone is injured in that process, we take it incredibly seriously.”
Chaffin said he is willing to be accountable and transparent about what happened.
Last week, Jack Parcells’ parents called 911 out of concern that their son — who has autism — was going to hurt himself. The boy’s mother, Mary Ann, said she was on the phone with dispatch for close to 30 minutes before two officers arrived. Jack’s parents said their son was “broken” and had calmed down by the time authorities showed up.
Jack’s father, Doug, said the officer aggressively brought his son down from his upstairs bedroom and out onto the front street before he saw one of the police officers throw Jack to the ground.
The boy lost consciousness for a period of time and was rushed to an emergency room.
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“There’s not a police agency in the world, including ours, that would ever present any tactic or idea that would want to hurt a young boy,” Chaffin said on Monday. “But, things happen. Things happen in a chaotic amount of time.
“We are willing to accept criticism. Every policing model embraces critique. You have to be courageous to accept criticism as constructive.”
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating and says the youth was uncontrollable and struggling with officers. Investigators will look into whether any possible use of force was justified.
The officer involved remains on active duty.
The president of the Calgary Police Association says all officers receive comprehensive de-escalation training and they are very concerned about what this young boy and his family are going through.
“We welcome a thorough investigation, especially the officers involved, to ensure that all the details surrounding this incident come to light,” Les Kaminski told Global News. “The officers involved in this case welcome this investigation so that all the essential facts surrounding what happened are revealed.”