Cops ripped for handcuffing autistic boy
TORONTO - Surely there’s a better way for police to deal with an unruly child with special needs than slapping him with handcuffs and treating him like a criminal.
“That wouldn’t be appropriate for any child,” insisted Dr. Glenn Rampton, the CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, which serves 5,000 clients with autism disorders across Southern Ontario. “I can’t imagine anyone would think that would be an appropriate way to deal with a nine-year-old kid.”
Yet Toronto Police are actually defending their treatment of a young boy with Asperger’s syndrome after they were called to Fairbank Memorial Day Care Centre on July 28 by staff who had locked the nine-year-old in a classroom.
“We got a call that this boy was out of control and he was a danger to himself,” explained Const. Victor Kwong. “One officer had to wait for backup because this kid was being aggressive — he barricaded himself with tables and chairs, he had thrown paint all over the room. The police pushed open the door and told him to lie down and they cuffed him.”
Kwong said the handcuffs were removed about five minutes later once the mobile crisis intervention team arrived and calmed him down.
“We don’t like to handcuff children but safety is the No. 1 issue here and if it’s called for, we will do it,” he said. “The police officers did everything right.”
But why didn’t they wait for the crisis team — with an officer trained in mental-health issues and a registered nurse with more than 30 years experience — instead of terrifying a developmentally disabled child?
“There was no telling how long it would have been,” Kwong maintained.
The boy’s mother is understandably outraged. Instead of waiting for her to arrive to defuse the situation, the daycare called 911.