News / Edmonton

Black Lives Matter calls for suspension of transit officers who took down teen

Fifteen-year-old boy suffered bruises and broken glasses after he was handcuffed at Belvedere Station.

A screenshot from a video of two transit officers handcuffing a 15-year-old boy at Belvedere station in January.

Supplied / Black Lives Matter

A screenshot from a video of two transit officers handcuffing a 15-year-old boy at Belvedere station in January.

Black Lives Matter Edmonton is calling for the suspension of two peace officers who took down a Black teen at a transit station last month.

A video from the afternoon of Jan. 19, taken by one of the teen's friends, shows two officers approaching the 15-year-old boy at Belvedere Station. The officers both grab him and press him against a railing before taking him to the ground and putting him in handcuffs.

According to BLM, the boy suffered a head injury, bruises and broken glasses.

“All of this happened over a loitering ticket. So it makes you wonder why they would need to even use force, or why they would need to go that hard over what they see as loitering,” said Black Lives Matter member Bashir Mohamed.

The group is also calling for an independent review of the transit peace officer program.

Mohamed said transit officers do not have proper training to use force, and that there is no transparency or accountability for misconduct.

“If you have things like this that happen with police, you’re able to go to a police commission meeting and there’s an independent commission,” Mohamed said.

“There is no transparency with this program. It’s effectively up to city employees to make sure that these officers are accountable.”

Black Lives Matter plans to hold a rally outside of city hall Friday at 5:30 p.m. to condemn what they say was excessive force used by the officers.

The teen was not available to speak with media Tuesday.

Batul Gulamhusein with Progress Alberta, who is advocating on his behalf, said he was coming home from school and waiting for a bus when the officers approached him and his friends, telling the teens they were loitering.

When his friends said they were leaving, the officers held the boy back, she said.

Gulamhusein said the officers wrote the teen a $250 loitering ticket.

Transit spokesperson Tarra Kongsrude said in an e-mailed statement that the city is co-operating with the Edmonton Police Service's investigation into the incident.

"Edmonton Transit Service is committed to the safety and respectful treatment of our customers and staff," she wrote.

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