RCMP watchdog investigating arrest, detention of non-verbal autistic teen in St. Albert

By News Staff

The national watchdog agency for the RCMP will investigate the October arrest of an autistic, non-verbal teenage boy in St. Albert, outside Edmonton.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for RCMP (CRCC) says it has launched a review into the arrest of 16-year-old Ryley Bauman at a playground in St. Albert – and his subsequent detention.

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

St. Albert RCMP received a report around 4:20 p.m. on Oct. 2 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.

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.

WATCH: St. Albert RCMP arrest teen at playground

Goals of CRCC probe

The CRCC is expected to examine “if proper supervision and accommodations were provided to Ryley throughout the entire incident in light of his neurodiversity, as required under the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

It will also explore if the RCMP took “reasonable steps” to prevent the teen from hurting himself while in police custody.

Additionally, the CRCC will investigate the RCMP’s current training procedures and policies when interacting with neurodiverse people.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is also investigating the Oct. 2 arrest.

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