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Calgary police chief responds to allegations that officers assaulted boy with autism

WATCH: Calgary's police chief is now responding to disturbing allegations that one of his members assaulted a 12-year-old boy with autism. Jill Croteau sat down with Chief Roger Chaffin on Monday afternoon.

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.

“Nobody goes to a call like this to have anybody injured,” he said.

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Recent photo of Jack Parcells and his younger brother
Recent photo of Jack Parcells and his younger brother Family Supplied

“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.”

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Chaffin said he is willing to be accountable and transparent about what happened.

“We will participate in earnest to make sure it’s an objective investigation and we need to look at ourselves and see what else could we have [been] done to provide better information,” he said.

“Do we have training gaps? We will begin that review almost instantly.”

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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.

View photos related to this story in the gallery below:

 

Injuries on 12-year-old Jack Parcell, after his family say Calgary police used force to take him into custody.
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack Parcell, after his family say Calgary police used force to take him into custody. Provided by the Parcells family
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack Parcells Family
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack Parcells Family
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack
Injuries on 12-year-old Jack Parcells Family

“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.

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“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.

READ MORE: Father objects to suggestion Calgary boy with autism was ‘struggling with officers’ before suffering injuries

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.”