ASIRT investigating arrest of non-verbal autistic teenager in St. Albert

A 'suspicious adult' who was arrested by St. Albert RCMP was actually a teen boy with autism, according to the family.

By News Staff

Alberta’s police watchdog will investigate the arrest of an autistic, non-verbal teenage boy in St. Albert last weekend.

Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) says it “had been directed” to investigate the Oct. 2 arrest at a playground.

BACKGROUND: St. Albert RCMP mistake non-verbal autistic teen for adult after arrest

St. Albert RCMP admitted they mistook the boy for an adult showing erratic behaviour.

Police say they received multiple 9-1-1 calls about the 16-year-old. They say they took him into custody over concerns for his well-being and the safety of others.

When in custody, the teenager began hurting himself and was taken to hospital by EMS, police say.

Unaware of his arrest, the family of the teen called RCMP about a missing person, and that’s when police were able to identify who they had arrested.

On a fundraiser page, the family of the teen says he was released from the hospital early Monday morning.

“He is only 16. He is Autistic,” the family wrote. “He is not incapable of being unsupervised for small amounts of time if he’s in a familiar place and within eye shot of us. He was alone on the swings for 28 minutes while we finished dinner. The police swooped in and picked him up over the span of eight minutes. He was ambushed.”

The family has reportedly been in contact with Higgerty Law since the incident, which stated in a letter: “We are currently investigating this incident with a view to recommending to our clients the appropriate legal course of action.”

Meanwhile RCMP have said they are reviewing how they handled the incident.

“There were some concerns from members of the public in terms of how RCMP in St. Albert addressed this situation,” Cpl. Deanna Fontaine told CityNews last week. “So we wanted to make sure we provided some additional information about the circumstances that were involved here.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today