It was a moment Laura Barnaby says she will never be able to get out of her head: Her-14 year-old son lying on the ground surrounded by Toronto police officers.
“I rushed downstairs to see my son hogtied by his legs and blood all over his face, getting thrown into a cruiser,” she told Global News while holding back tears.
Minutes earlier, Toronto police appeared on video to be tackling and punching the teen. At least three officers detained the boy as bystanders screamed and yelled for them to ease up.
“That’s just a 14-year-old kid,” a man can be heard yelling, as the boy screams for his mother before being hauled away in handcuffs.
Left with cuts and bruises, the teen was taken to hospital where Barnaby said she was told he needed to be monitored for concussion. It’s something she said that never happened when he was taken back to the police station.
“They wouldn’t tell me what his charges were. They wouldn’t tell me where he is,” Barnaby said.
Toronto police said the incident began when 31 Division officers were dispatched to the area on Jane Street at around 6 p.m. on Monday after receiving public complaints of loitering and drug use. When the officers arrived on scene, they began investigating several people.
Police alleged Barnaby’s son, who was known to them and cannot be publicly identified due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, refused to identify himself and that’s when she said things turned physical. Those moments were caught on security footage by on-lookers and some by Barnaby herself, who shared the video on Facebook. The post gained traction online and now Barnaby said she wants answers.
“I want justice for my son,” she said.
In a statement, police told Global News it is Barnaby’s “right to lodge a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.” It’s something the mother of two said she is definitely planning on pursuing.
But for now, Barnaby said she has to focus on the charges her son is facing (possession of marijuana under the age of 18, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest). The teen, who was released on $500 bail, will remain in the care of his mother. He is due back in court on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Barnaby said she hopes sharing the videos of her son’s arrest and filing a formal complaint will bring attention to an issue that has been ongoing in her community.
“We see officers who bring kids slushies and are great role models, but then we see officers like this who basically beat up a child,” she said.
Barnaby said she’s determined to ensure no other parent will have to watch their child go through what she called an “unnecessarily violent arrest.”