Peel police defend handcuffing six-year-old girl

Peel Regional Police are defending their move to throw the cuffs on a 6-year-old student at a Mississauga school back in September.

According to police, the girl was acting violently: punching, hitting, biting and spitting.

"The interaction as a whole, lasted about 30 minutes and the police did spend a significant amount of time trying to de-escalate before having to restrain the child." says Sgt Josh Colley from Peel Regional Police.

He says there was never a report that the child was injured, or a complaint brought forward by the family.

But Danardo Jones, a lawyer for the girl's family questions how much of a threat a child of 48 lbs could really be.

"There was no other students around. She was flanked by adults and two police officers. Adults who were trained in de-escalation methods for children her age and also police officers who were ostensibly trained to deal with folks in crisis," Jones tells NEWSTALK 1010's Moore in the Morning.

Jones feels school staff should have handled the matter rather than calling in police.

"To employ devices that we use for suspected criminals or criminals I think is problematic."

The girl handcuffed is black and Jones does not doubt that her race was a factor in what happened to her. He highlights disproportionately high suspension and expulsion rates for racialized children.

That was an aspect that Sgt. Colley, who is a black police officer, called 'insulting'

"We're dealing with a young child who is obviously in distress, they were ultimately concerned for her safety and the number one priority is to make sure she was safe, so to bring race into this, I think is an insult." Colley told NEWSTALK1010.

Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis sees this as a case without any clear answers.

"What were their options? Was one of them putting the kid in a bear hug, lying her on the floor and laying on top of her or sitting on top of her to prevent her from hurting herself?," Lewis asked on NEWSTALK 1010's Jerry Agar Show.

He says doing nothing and allowing the girl to injure herself or carrying her flailing to the back of a cruiser would have created a new host of problems.

"It's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario I think."