Durham police say officer who punched 16-year-old boy during viral video arrest ‘followed protocol’

Durham police say officers followed “proper protocol” in a recent arrest captured in a viral video showing an officer punching and kneeling on a 16-year-old boy.

The six-minute video, which was widely shared after it was posted to Facebook on Friday, ends with a second arrest of another young person who had been swearing at police. At least eight police vehicles and an ambulance attended the call.

Both of the arrested teens appear to be Black.

The video does not show the events immediately before the arrests.

In a statement Monday, Durham Regional Police Service said officers were responding to a May 15 call “regarding a distraught male possibly armed with a knife” when they found the 16-year-old walking with friends on a residential street near Cathedral Dr. and Brookstream Court in Whitby.

The boy had “existing cuts to his hand and was un-cooperative with officers, who tried to talk to him,” reads the statement. While attempting to apprehend the boy, the officers brought him to the ground and tried to handcuff him, it continues.

“Several punches were used to gain compliance of the male, who refused to make his hands available. The male was eventually placed into custody and was not injured.”

Throughout the video, the person who appears to be filming the arrest asks the officers to identify themselves.

At no point in the video do the male and female officer making the arrest mention a knife.


Police spokesperson Const. George Tudos told the Star Monday that the officers eventually provided their names and badge numbers and said this information is also on police uniforms.

Tudos said the 16-year-old boy was the subject of the original emergency call.

Durham police say the officers “are not under investigation and the officers followed proper protocol based in the information provided.”

Durham police say officers “followed protocol” in a viral video showing the May 15 arrest of a 16-year-old boy in Whitby following a mental health call.

A copy of the video will be sent to the training branch of the service’s professional standards unit for review, the statement says.

The video also shows officers take a second young male to the hood of an SUV cruiser after he can be heard saying, “What the f—?” An officer responds, “Pardon me,” then grabs the boy’s arm. Three officers then take him to the cruiser.

The boy who appears to be filming can be heard saying, ‘No, no, no. That’s crazy … he did nothing wrong, man.”

Tudos confirmed the second young man was arrested and charged with causing a disturbance in a public place. He was issued a bylaw ticket, Tudos said.

Asked if it was standard procedure to arrest someone who swore at police, Tudos said police can arrest someone who is yelling and generally causing a disturbance.

It is not clear who shot the video. Throughout, police do not attempt to stop the filming of the arrest.

With files from Wendy Gillis

Jim Rankin is a reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @Jleerankin

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