Police were told autistic teenager at St. Albert playground could have ‘severe handicap’: ASIRT

By News Staff

RCMP were aware the 16-year-old autistic boy who was eventually arrested at a playground in St. Albert earlier this month could have “some severe handicap.”

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

That’s according to Alberta’s police watchdog, which is investigating the non-verbal teenager’s arrest on Oct. 2.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) says St. Albert RCMP received a report around 4:20 p.m. that a “younger male” in his “early 20s” was behaving oddly in the playground of the Albert Lacombe School.

The caller told police dispatch the person could have “some severe handicap” or possibly be on drugs. The caller said they didn’t think the individual should be left in the playground alone.

St. Albert RCMP proceeded with the arrest, but later admitted they mistook the boy for an adult showing erratic behaviour.

WATCH: St. Albert RCMP arrest teen at playground

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

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.

ASIRT is investigating the arrest and detention by police officers.

The watchdog says its mandate does not extend to other individuals involved.

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