The mother of the 15-year-old girl who had her arm broken by a Prince Rupert RCMP officer says that the police overreacted when they responded to a domestic disturbance call, and that their publicizing that they arrested her because they she was suicidal is willfully misleading
The mother – who could not be named because her daughter is underaged – says that she didn’t call the police because her daughter was threatening to kill herself, but because she was having a fight with her boyfriend.
The daughter did bring up killing herself, she says, but it was just teenage bravado, not an actual threat to kill herself.
“I told my daughter ‘I can’t have you guys fighting like this any more in my house . . . I’m calling the police.’ And my daughter freaked out and said ‘I’d rather die than be in this house’ or ‘I’d rather kill myself than be under this roof.’”
The mother says she told the RCMP over the phone that she had said this, but when the person on the line asked if she was going to hurt herself, she told them that her daughter had meant it as a figure of speech.
“I told them that it was a domestic disturbance , there was nothing about suicide.”
Nonetheless, officer arrived at their home believing that they were dealing with a teenager who was threatening to kill herself. According to the RCMP’s press release, that the responding officers had “confirmed with the girl that she was upset and wanted to take her own life.” She was then arrested under the provisions of the Mental Health Act.
The mother’s version of events is quite different. According to her, the daughter had calmed down by the time the officers had arrived. During the fight with the boyfriend, a bottle of pills had been knocked over and spilt all over the floor.
She says the officer had been aggressively questioning her daughter about the pills, possibly trying to ascertain if the teenager had taken them to try to overdose, but she can’t say for certain. The pills were actually medication for the girl’s own baby.
During the questioning, the mother says that the officer had been shoving their finger near the face of the daughter who then reached out and shoved the hand away from her.
“That’s when he grabbed her and said ‘you’re under arrest’ and slammed her against the wall. He slammed her so hard and pushed her up until she was on her tippy-toes. I guess he shouldn’t have hit her arm but I think he did with his own arm and that’s how the break happened. He broke her arm between the shoulder and elbow and she had a rod put through her arm now.”
This version of events at least jives with the comparatively little the RCMP has said about the incident. According to the press release, the girl was also arrested for assaulting an officer and had her arm broken despite there being no injuries to the officer.
Despite having a broken arm, the daughter was led away in handcuffs and there was some confusion on the part of the RCMP officers over whether they should call an ambulance. She was eventually taken to hospital where her arm was treated, but the mother says there was no more mention of her daughter’s mental health until the story hit the news.
“After all this happened, nothing was brought up about seeing a psychiatrist or ‘do you think your daughter needs help dealing with suicide?’ Nothing was brought up about any of that.”
The family has retained the services of a lawyer and filed a complaint against the Prince Rupert RCMP, which is under investigation by officers sent up from the Delta Police Department. The investigation will determine if criminal charges against the RCMP officer are justified.
“I called them just to calm her down . . .I regret calling the police that day, I really regret it,” says the mother.
The Prince Rupert RCMP and Delta police cannot provide any more information on the incident because of the ongoing investigation The BC Police Complaint Commissioner has been notified of the investigation, but does not have any real oversight power over the RCMP.
It is important to remember that this is just the mother’s version of events and that none of this account has been tested in court.