Video of OPP officer appearing to push kid at Gravenhurst skatepark sparks investigation
Disturbing video footage is blowing up today of a physical altercation between an Ontario Provincial Police officer and what looks like a young teenager or child in Gravenhurst, Ontario, prompting an external investigation and plenty of online scorn.
Published Sunday, April 18, by an Instagram user posting under the name Brodie Ohare, the video is said to have been shot that same day in the Muskoka Region town at a skate park.
Background details indicate that the altercation took place within the now-ironically named Youth Park.
"Today I witnessed a 12-year-old get pushed over by a police officer at our local skate park in Gravenhurst, Ontario, and these are all local kids," wrote Ohare in the caption of his Instagram post, noting that the kid was "just trying to learn tricks on his scooter."
"Covid has made everybody crazy, especially police officers. This gives no reason to put hands on anybody, especially a 12-year-old boy," said Ohare, calling what he saw "100 per cent wrong" and "a disgrace."
Many commenters on the original post and other social media platforms share this sentiment, and are using it to decry Doug Ford's recent expansion of police powers.
The OPP acknowledged the incident on Tuesday as more and more people shared footage, which appears to show an officer pushing the kid from his scooter onto grass.
"On April 19, 2021 the OPP became aware of a video on social media, showing an interaction in the Town of Gravenhurst involving a member of the Bracebridge OPP and a young person," reads a statement issued by the provincial police force.
"The incident occurred April 18, 2021. Officers stopped to speak to a group of young people, none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing. Officers attempted to interact with the youths which led to a physical confrontation between one officer and one young person."
The OPP specifies that the skate park was closed under provincial stay-at-home orders at the time of the altercation.
"To ensure transparency in this matter, I have requested that Chief Nishan Duraiappah assign members of the Peel Regional Police to conduct an investigation into this incident," said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
"We understand the concerns being expressed by members of the public, and I want to assure everyone that the Ontario Provincial Police holds its members to highest levels of professionalism and accountability."
To underline that last point, the OPP says the viral video's elder star has now "been reassigned to administrative duties until the investigation is completed."
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