By Mabell, Dave on November 27, 2019.
Provincial officials will investigate allegations that a Lethbridge girl was injured by Lethbridge police while they were arresting her mother.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has been directed to consider the circumstances surrounding an injury reportedly sustained by the 12-year-old on Nov. 16.
Investigators say Lethbridge officers went to a local home twice in response to repeated calls for help, claiming downstairs occupants were screaming and smashing objects. The caller provided her name to police when they arrived, and subsequently a female occupant of the downstairs unit was arrested.
But when officers returned to the police station, they discovered the 33-year-old caller had provided a false name and had outstanding warrants for her arrest. Then another occupant of the downstairs suite called to complain the original caller had stolen an item and was causing damage to the building.
When officers returned and encountered the first woman, they say she again provided a false name. Officers told her they were aware of her real identity and the warrants for her arrest. But when informed she was under arrest, the woman ran inside and there was a physical struggle to arrest her.
During that struggle, police say the woman’s 12-year-old daughter became involved. The woman was ultimately handcuffed and taken to the police station while the girl was taken to hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.
Three days later, police report the girl went to Lethbridge police headquarters, accompanied by a lawyer, to report she had been injured during her mother’s arrest. Lethbridge officials notified the ASIRT team and the investigation was launched.
The investigation will focus on the lawfulness of police actions during the course of the arrest, officials say. Lethbridge police will remain responsible for any further investigation resulting from the original calls for assistance.
“I have complete confidence in the training and professionalism of our officers,” Chief Scott Woods said following announcement of the investigation.
“Transparency is critical in maintaining public trust and we welcome the independent investigation by ASIRT.”
Lethbridge officials will not provide further comment or details in order to protect the integrity of the ASIRT investigation, he said.